2020 hasn’t made it easy to stay JoyPowered®. What with the pandemic, systemic racism, elections, and everything else this year has thrown at us, most Americans are stressed. And not just stressed – according to the Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition, as of August 2020, anxiety levels are 23% higher than they were in February, depression levels are 30% higher, and focus is 31% worse.
All of this can have a negative impact on our work…not to mention that if you’re reading our blog, we’re guessing you want your team to be joyful! So what can you do to help?
Do you feel like you’re overcommunicating? You’re probably not. Checking in with your team is more important than ever. Ask if they’re okay, and actually listen to their answer. Encourage them to share questions and concerns and ask them how you can support them. And if they don’t want to talk much about it, that’s okay, too; giving them the opportunity to share is what matters.
Help decrease the stigma of mental health challenges by talking about your own, or empower team members to write or create videos about their experiences to share with the team. Keep in mind that telling your team to prioritize their mental health likely won’t help if you’re not prioritizing yours. Let your team know when you’re taking a break for a walk outside, unplugging during your days off, or leaving work for a therapy appointment. Tell them about the meditation app you use or your new favorite at-home workout. All this will help your team feel confident that it’s okay for them to prioritize their mental health, too.
Make sure your team knows about any mental health resources available to them and that any information about them is accessible and up to date. If your health care plan doesn’t offer mental health services or you have team members who aren’t on the health care plan, you can still provide tools and resources. For example, you can offer free access to helpful apps, share videos and articles by mental health professionals, list some therapists in your area, etc. Consider providing workplace mental health training and/or employee resource groups, as well.
Things are even more unpredictable than usual right now. Be flexible with your team as their needs change, but don’t just wait until a need arises; proactively offer flexible practices and policies. When you’re being flexible with your own schedule, let your team know so they feel comfortable asking for flexibility, too. Be understanding and as generous as you can be. Measure what’s helping, keep the conversation going, and adjust your support strategies as needed.
If you haven’t been thinking about your team’s mental health, now is the time. Much like being JoyPowered®, it doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming – you can help by intentionally making small but significant changes.