Supporting employee wellness is not always easy. With lockdowns, home schooling, and ever changing health news, our pre Covid strategies aren’t necessarily effective right now. Our current work days may not be ‘normal,’ but we can adapt and apply new strategies to help our teams through the good times and the bad.
Here, Leaders should never pry into employees’ personal lives, yet many fail to connect at all. In recent study, almost 40% of employees said no one at their organisation had asked them if they were okay. These same respondents were 38% more likely than others to say their mental health had declined since the pandemic began. If you’re not sure how to check on your team members in a way that feels both empathetic, reflect on these five strategies.
Be an example
Talking about your own struggles is essential if you want to maintain a supportive and caring work environment during crises like Covid 19. Acknowledge that your team will be anxious, vulnerable, and disoriented. Don’t just pretend that things are normal. Share your experience, invite people to share theirs, and make that behaviour normal.
In the business world we’ve been trained to respond to, “how are you?” with a robotic, “fine, thanks.” Most people usually answer this way no matter how we actually feel. Encouraging someone to share the truth requires different questions. For example, you could ask a second time with a little emphasis, with a “how are you really doing?” Or press for another reply by asking, “what did you do last night?” or “what are you looking forward to today?”
Remember the goal isn’t to pry, it’s to let someone know that you’re paying attention, and that you care enough to follow up. If someone wants to talk—they’ll let you know.
Use active listening
Most of us think we’re good listeners, but we’re often lost in thought while the other person is speaking. Or we’re busy thinking about a response instead of letting their words sink in. Active listening means paying close attention to both the content and the feelings someone shares with you.
The key is to focus completely on the other person. Hear what they say, listen for their tone of voice, and watch their body language and gestures. Most importantly, remain silent until they’re done, and resist the temptation to offer advice. Next, reflect back what you heard to ensure it’s accurate.
Promote health maintenance days
One positive of the pandemic is a renewed focus to take physical and mental health symptoms seriously. Even once we’re allowed to meet up let’s stop dragging ourselves to the office when we’re sick, and spreading illness in the process.
Using this theme look also to introduce “health maintenance days,” where staff are given at least one day off per year to visit the dentist, go to the opticians, seek counselling, or do anything that improves their health and well-being.
Set wellness goals
Even if your team is doing okay, there’s always room to feel better. Why not set wellness goals? Here allow employees to pick a personal objective like logging more sleep, eating extra vegetables, or tackling a financial task. They can make it public or keep the goal to themselves. Either way, you can support them by creating timelines and offering incentives to everyone who hits their targets.
"Leaders should never pry into employees’ personal lives, yet many fail to connect at all."