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Five ways to care for employee mental health.

Five ways to care for employee mental health

How do you help your employees keep it together during COVID-19? Industries around the world and in the Philippines are reeling from major disruptions caused by the pandemic. Given all these dramatic changes, it becomes even more crucial to safeguard mental health in the workplace.

Last April, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported that two million Filipinos lost their jobs because of temporary business closures and revenue losses. The pandemic has made the future of most Filipinos uncertain, affecting their quality of life and happiness. In our COVID-19 Job Report released last August, only 47% of currently employed candidates said that they were happy with their jobs, versus 79% pre-pandemic.

Given these figures, what should hirers do to effectively cultivate mental health in the workplace? Here are five strategies to guide you.

Know and appreciate the value of people in your organization

An engaged employee is a happy employee, and this attitude is most evident in companies that put their employees first. It’s difficult if you see your people as mere cogs on the wheel, made to function without a plan for their growth and development, or without so much as a gesture of appreciation for a job well done.

Make sure that you show your constituents gratitude for the work they’ve accomplished, and be sure to thank them for the contributions they have given.

Leaders should lead by example

The best people to set these initiatives into motion would be the leaders of your company, as these are the ones that your employees look up to. Human Resources, especially, must also work together with upper management to get the ball rolling on initiatives that benefit the employees. As the ‘heart of the house’ of any company, the HR department knows the people better than anyone and should be their first line of defense in all aspects, with mental health being one of their top priorities.

When creating company policies for remote work, the >International Labour Organization (ILO) recommends open discussions about the following:

  • When employees will be available and responsive

  • How they will keep in touch, such as online and telephone contact

  • How work-life balance will be managed, for instance through regular breaks and switching off from work at the end of the day

  • How performance and reporting will be managed, taking into consideration the employee’s circumstances when necessary

  • Who employees should contact if they have any work-related issue

  • Who employees should contact if they have an emergency type situation

The world is shifting towards the new norm and with it comes the inevitable uncertainties. Your people need managerial support more than ever, so encourage your leaders to steer the ship in the right direction and it is highly likely your employees will follow suit.

Encourage work-life balance

According to a JobStreet Survey Report, 74% of organizations in the Philippines have required their employees to work from home. What once was a passing trend became a necessity as more employers valued the health and safety of their employees.

While 35% of the respondents indicated a desire to work more hours at home, employees need to find a balance between their professional and personal lives.

Scrap the belief that clocking in early and logging off in the wee hours of the morning equates to a job well done. Instead, measure results and not hours, taking into account the many household responsibilities of your employees. Not only will this safeguard the overall wellness of your employees, but it will also enhance their transferable skill of time management.

Encourage employees to draw a clear boundary between their daily work and personal schedules. In an environment where the lines blur between home and work, ensure that your employees take breaks to refresh their well and get back to the grind once they’re ready.

Companies all over the world have moved work into the virtual space. Utilize digital technology to promote the physical and emotional well-being of your employees. To reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety, consider virtual coffee breaks and online group workouts.

Give employees easy access to mental health services

According to the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH), monthly hotline calls regarding depression rose from 80 calls pre-lockdown to nearly 400. Roughly >3.3 million Filipinos suffering from depression, 3.17 million of whom are experiencing anxiety issues.

Society still deems mental health a taboo discussion, leaving most unable or reluctant to access mental health services and facilities. Don’t let your employees fall through the cracks: give your employees the tools and resources to seek help when they need it.

Ask your company healthcare provider about telehealth services that you can offer your employees. If you don’t have an in-house clinic or psychologist, consider organizing regular webinars with mental health experts. Create a safe and open environment for your employees to discuss their experiences and emotions with professionals who can offer advice, support, and solutions.

Open the lines of communication

Above all, make sure to always communicate with your constituents. Establish a centralized communication platform where employees can get important updates, raise issues, and propose suggestions. During these uncertain times, let them know that you are there for them should any concerns come their way.

Initiate weekly check-ins with your employees to assess their well-being and ask them how they are. Ensure that your lines are equally open, and that communication is constant, consistent, and a two-way street. Take the time to truly listen to what they’re saying.

Make sure you empathize when they tell you their concerns and at the same time, give solutions that work both ways–a happy middle ground for professional and personal tasks.

Ultimately, it is Human Resources that takes the lead in the ongoing journey to mental health wellness. But, they must collaborate with upper management, senior leaders, and employees to cultivate a work environment built on trust, communication, and compassion.

Recruit employees who share the same values as you. Use Talent Search to access the largest talent database in Southeast Asia and find the best candidate for the job. For more advice and insights on how you can adapt your business to face today’s challenges, visit the >Jobs and Resources Hub.

At JobStreet, we believe in #JobsThatMatter. As a Career Partner, we are committed to helping all jobseekers find passion and purpose in every career choice. And as the number 1 Talent Partner in Asia, we connect employers with the right candidates who truly make a positive and lasting impact on the organization.

Discover Jobs That Matter. Visit JobStreet today.

About SEEK Asia

SEEK Asia, a combination of two leading brands JobStreet and jobsDB, is the leading job portal and Asia’s preferred destination for candidates and hirers. SEEK Asia’s presence span across 7 countries namely Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam. SEEK Asia is part of the Australian Securities Exchange-listed SEEK Limited Company, the world’s largest job portal by market capitalization. SEEK Asia attracts over 400 million visits a year.

About SEEK Limited

SEEK is a diverse group of companies, comprising a strong portfolio of online employment, educational, commercial and volunteer businesses. SEEK has a global presence (including Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, South-East Asia, Brazil and Mexico), with exposure to over 2.9 billion people and approximately 27 per cent of global GDP. SEEK makes a positive contribution to people’s lives on a global scale. SEEK is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, where it is a top 100 company and has been listed in the Top 20 Most Innovative Companies by Forbes.

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