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Be kind look after each other Covid 19 dreamstime xxl 179878415 Pivotal HR Solutions Blog

HR Management Tips to Boost Morale During Covid-19 Winter

Winter in any normal instance can be a difficult season to get through, whether it is due to the cold and lower levels of sunlight or the stress of the holiday season. But because of the added stress, isolation, and demands on our mental health caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has released a great resource designed to give employers the tools to help people cope.

The Mini-Guide to Help Employees’ Mental Health Through Winter addresses the most common causes for seasonal mood changes and the challenges presented by the pandemic to employees followed up by helpful tips and instructions on how employers can help their employees learn to balance stress and productivity while coping with what they each face in their lives.[1]

As an employer, some of the best things that you can do for your employees to boost morale and improve productivity in the cold months are below:

 

Use Empathetic Communication

Communicating is not just about telling an employee what is required of them and then hoping that they overcome all of their personal hurdles to achieve everything that is asked; it requires empathy, especially when things are stressful.

How we communicate is just as important as the words that we say, and employers can help their employees by listening with intent and recognizing, understanding, and sharing the thoughts and feelings of employees.

Promoting a higher level of understanding can have positive effects on its own and reduce the perceived load of work-related stress that any employee has. And developing an understanding relationship allows employers to see when a member of staff is becoming overwhelmed and may need additional support and resources to get through a difficult time.

Don’t be afraid to share your own personal stories with employees who are struggling in order to create a fair environment where everyone can discuss personal feelings, and try to keep things positive and friendly.[2]

 

Provide Psychological and Social Support

Building off of the above point, it will be important to first provide all employees with access to information resources on seasonal depression, anxiety, and opportunities for learning and developing coping skills for dealing with these feelings along with access to EAP programs.

Employers can encourage social support within organizations as well. This can be done by encouraging understanding relationships between employees and supervisors, health and safety committee members, their peers, or with someone with an MHFA certificate. Support groups can be set up within the organization, a flexible work schedule can help them to balance personal needs and obligations, and educational opportunities such as webinars and courses can help employees to understand what they are coping with while reducing the stigma around talking about what they are struggling with.

Employers should focus on:

  • Reducing the stigma around talking about mental illness
  • Growing an understanding of the signs and symptoms of stress and mental illness
  • Providing guidance and support so that employees know how and where to access mental health support
  • Creating a supportive environment where effective managers can use interpersonal skills to monitor and help maintain employee mental health.[3]

 

Make Working from Home Easier

With lockdown procedures and self-isolation measures, many employees may not have access to the best work equipment at home. This can make working from home uncomfortable and both physically and mentally unhealthy since poorly designed furniture and unergonomic equipment can lead to injury. If they need, let them take their office equipment home to work more comfortably, give them information on separating their workspace from their living space, and additional information on exercises and stretching, diet, and even access to a wellness spending account to encourage them to invest in their own mental health and stay positive.[4]


Do you have HR-related questions about boosting morale in your workplace? Contact the experts at Pivotal HR Solutions:

Contact Pivotal

 

NOTES

[1] Mental Health Commission of Canada, “Mini-guide to help employees’ mental health through winter”, https://theworkingmind.ca/sites/default/files/winter_mini_guide_eng_07-dec-20.pdf

[2] Mental Health Commission of Canada, “Mini-guide to help employees’ mental health through winter”, https://theworkingmind.ca/sites/default/files/winter_mini_guide_eng_07-dec-20.pdf

[3] Mental Health Commission of Canada, “Mini-guide to help employees’ mental health through winter”, https://theworkingmind.ca/sites/default/files/winter_mini_guide_eng_07-dec-20.pdf

[4] Mental Health Commission of Canada, “Mini-guide to help employees’ mental health through winter”, https://theworkingmind.ca/sites/default/files/winter_mini_guide_eng_07-dec-20.pdf

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