Many businesses have expanded their attention on workplace mental health prior to the epidemic (often in response to pressure from employees). These activities are much more important now.
Even in the most uncertain of circumstances, a manager’s responsibility remains the same: to assist his or her team members. This includes assisting them with their mental health. The good news is that many of the tools you’ll need to do so are also those that will help you become an excellent manager.
Open yourself up
One benefit of the epidemic is that it is normalizing mental health issues. Almost everyone has had some amount of discomfort at some point in their lives. However, the universality of the experience will translate into a reduction in stigma only if individuals, particularly those in positions of authority, share their experiences. Being transparent about your personal mental health troubles as a leader allows employees to feel comfortable approaching you about their own mental health issues.
Demonstrate healthy practices
Don’t just claim you believe in mental health. Demonstrate it so that your team members feel confident in their ability to prioritize self-care and establish limits. Managers are frequently so focused on the well-being of their team and the completion of tasks that they neglect to care for themselves. Share that you’re going for a stroll in the middle of the day, have a therapy session, or are planning a vacation (and turning off email) to avoid burnout.
Check-ins might help you create a culture of connectedness
Checking in with each of your direct reports on a regular basis is more important than ever. This was critical, yet it was frequently misused prior to the epidemic. With so many individuals working from home these days, it might be even more difficult to detect symptoms that someone is struggling. In a recent survey with Qualtrics and SAP, over 40% of worldwide employees reported no one at their business had asked them if they were okay — and those respondents were 38% more likely than others to indicate their mental health had deteriorated since the epidemic.
Go beyond the casual “How are you?” and ask specific questions about what kind of assistance might be beneficial. Wait for the whole response. Listen carefully and welcome inquiries and concerns. Of course, avoid being overpowering; this might indicate a lack of trust or a desire to micromanage.
Communicate more than you believe is necessary
According to recent research conducted by Qualtrics and SAP, employees who believed their supervisors were poor communicators were 23 percent more likely than others to have mental health deterioration since the epidemic. Keep your team up to date on any organizational changes or adjustments. Clarify any changes to work hours and standards. Reduce stress by defining task expectations, prioritizing what must be done, and accepting what can be pushed back if necessary.
Be accommodating and inclusive
Expect that the circumstances, your team’s demands, and your personal needs to change in the future. Check in on a frequent basis, especially during transition periods. You can only assist in resolving any difficulties that arise if you are aware of what is going on. These talks will also provide you with a chance to reinforce mental health standards and practices. Inclusive flexibility is about proactive communication and norm-setting that assists people in creating and maintaining the limits they require.
Make no assumptions about what your direct reports require; they will almost certainly require various things at different times. Take a tailored strategy to dealing with difficulties such as childcare issues or a strong desire to work all the time. Flexibility should be offered proactively. Make an effort to be as generous and realistic as possible.
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