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Helping Staff Manage Stress and Anxiety around COVID-19

15 Apr 13:00 by Gail Whipper

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People can behave differently in times of stress and these last few weeks have been some of the most trying times for many of us, with all the uncertainty surrounding our current work and financial situations as well as the threats to our health. Here at Whipper we want to take the best possible care of our employees and have been reading many articles on supporting staff through these times. We wanted to share this article which we have found very helpful in the hopes it may help you too as an Employer when managing your staff.

 

Providing your employees with access to useful and practical information along with helpful support resources will go a long way to building a resilient employee community. 


ACTIVELY MANAGE YOUR OWN WELLBEING

It’s normal to feel added stress in a crisis but a regular routine will help control some of the uncertainty. The more you remain practical and calm as an employer, the more reassured your employees will feel.

Be proactive in managing your own physical, emotional and mental health throughout this time. Tips for yourself – and your employees – include:

  • Remain connected with employees, family and friends, even if not in person. Implement a ‘video on’ policy for meetings, drop an email to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, or engage in a group chat on social media to share experiences.
  • Engage in physical activity. Go for a walk, or join a gym offering online classes that you can do at home.
  • Eat healthy and nutritious foods. Since your family, friends and employees are likely isolating too, try exchanging recipes to add a social element to your diet.
  • Ensure you’re getting enough rest. Take breaks during work, after work, and maintain a regular sleep schedule. 
  • Seek professional support. Beyond Blue and Lifeline offer free support to help you manage your mental wellbeing. 


ADDRESSING EMPLOYEE CHALLENGES

Be mindful that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for managing a crisis. Remote working may not be appropriate for some, or families may be disrupted by school changes. As an employer it’s important to consider options to support the needs of individual employees.

Some of the key stressors for employees include:

  • Isolation and loneliness. We’re all feeling a little adrift without the day to day communication and collaboration experienced at work, so encourage employees to stay as connected as possible with regular video meetings, online social catch-ups or instant messaging chats. Show your support with regular check-ins and calls. 
  • Being unable to ‘unplug’. Encourage employees to set healthy boundaries between work and personal time and set clear expectations around output and working hours.
  • Lack of motivation. Eating well, physical exercise, social connection and sleep are all activities that will help improve an employee’s wellbeing and help them feel more engaged, productive and focussed.
  • Support and assistance. Health and financial concerns, worries about family or loved ones and the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis are likely to heighten stress and anxiety for many, but will take a heavier toll on those with existing mental health conditions. If you have an Employee Assistance Program, encourage your employees to speak to someone.


SUPPORT RESOURCES

It can be challenging to distance yourself from the constant stream of information and discussion about Coronavirus, and to manage heightened feelings of anxiety.

It’s important to remain informed so ensure you’re getting accurate information from credible sources to maintain a healthy perspective.


COVID-19 INFORMATION SOURCES


MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT SERVICES

  • Lifeline – 13 11 14 
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636

We’re in this together. COVID-19 can affect anybody regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity and the fear and uncertainty you’re experiencing is being felt by those around you too. Be considerate of others who may be struggling with social isolation, stress or anxiety. 

 

*Original article published on https://www.businessaustralia.com/