During this unprecedented time, it is critically important to protect the mental health of employees at all levels.
- Employees may be concerned about the risk of infection for themselves and their families and may need reassurance. Communicate clearly, effectively and often as the situation changes. Be prepared to answer questions, such as:
- What if I get sick?
- How do I take time off work to look after my children?
- Can I work from home?
- Check in with staff and do your best to support your team during this time. Share how work expectations may have shifted in these unusual circumstances.
- Encourage employees to practice self-care, such as taking regular breaks to stretch or be active, listening to music or doing relaxation techniques.
- Remind employees of mental health services available to them and how to access them, such as your company’s EFAP, if you have one.
- Superior Mental Wellness @ Work for more resources on supporting employee mental health
- Ottawa Public Health: COVID-19 Guide for Employers
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health: Navigating the New Normal: A COVID-19 Supplement to CAMH’s Mental Health Playbook for Business Leaders (Tips and Strategies for Workplace Mental Health During and After COVID-19)
- Public Health Sudbury and District: Managing through COVID-19: How to support your employees' mental health (An employer's guide)
- Canadian Human Rights Commission: COVID-19 and Mental Health in the Workplace: A Human Rights Guide for Employees and Employers
- Canadian Mental Health Association: Returning to a Shared Workspace - A psychological toolkit for transitioning to a new normal
- WSPS COVID-19 Mental Health Resources
- Get information about the current situation from reliable sources.
- Stay informed, but follow news coverage about COVID-19 in moderation.
- Make sure to take your breaks and lunch (even when working from home).
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly and maintain a regular sleep schedule. For other helpful tips, check out the Staying Healthy while Working from Home resource.
- Stay connected. Talk to co-workers, friends or family about your feelings and concerns.
- Show support and empathy to those dealing with difficult situations.
- Try to direct your energy only towards worries that are within your own control.
- Talk to your manager, another trusted person and/or a mental health professional if you are feeling exhausted, overly stressed or experiencing symptoms of a stress disorder (fatigue, fear, withdrawal, etc.). Take advantage of your company’s EFAP services, if available. Other mental health resources can be found on the Mental Health Support page.
Everyone has a role to play in ensuring a positive workplace culture and treating all co-workers with respect. The COVID-19 situation can cause anxiety and fear for many. Sometimes, this can inadvertently result in anger and stigma towards people who have contracted the virus. As a result, some people may feel discriminated against. Others may even avoid disclosing that they are ill in fear of how they may be treated. Supporting co-workers is especially important at this time.
Be proactive to reduce stigma in the workplace:
- Correct misinformation and challenge myths related to COVID-19.
- Focus on positives, such as what is being done to protect workers, clients and customers from illness.
- Consider people’s privacy and avoid telling others if you know of a co-worker who is ill.
- Show empathy towards workers who are self-isolating. Keep in regular contact with the individual and offer support.