Managing employees’ stress and anxiety during COVID-19

Peninsula Team

April 09 2020

For advice on all of your coronavirus queries, call our expert advisors any time day or night on 0800 917 0771. Our coronavirus blog also contains the latest news and most up-to-date advice for employers.

With the coronavirus pandemic rumbling on, it’s more important than ever to look after ourselves and each other.

Of course, adhering to government guidance to protect our physical health is important, but we must also take care of our mental health.

Adapting to the situation is a daily process, everyone is doing their best—us included. So we, as employers, should honour our duty of care to our employees and keep an eye on how they’re coping.

Signs of stress to look out for

  • Becoming withdrawn and quiet.
  • Slipping work standards.
  • Taking more sick days than usual.
  • Poor timekeeping.
  • Becoming short-tempered or irritable.
  • Physical complaints such as tiredness, nausea, headaches or heart palpitations.

Spotting the signs of stress should be quite easy when dealing with an employee face-to-face. But now, it’s likely that your staff are working for home. So, how can you check in on how they’re doing?

Stay in touch

Staying in touch with your employees is as easy as arranging a video call. This could be with your entire team or on a one-to-one basis. If video calls are a no-go, an email or text will also suffice.

You never know, it might do you good, too.

Talking about your worries can help you work through and overcome them. And there’s more you can do, and it’s worth sharing the methods with your staff as well…

How to combat coronavirus anxiety

First, accept that you’re worried, it’s natural at a time like this.

In fact, some experts suggest setting aside time each day to allow yourself to worry.

By freeing your thoughts for a while, you’ll rid your system of worry and feel better for the rest of the day.

Meditation and mindfulness, which is paying attention to the present moment, are relaxing options that can improve your mental wellbeing.

Meanwhile, limit the amount of news you read and watch and just aim for a daily roundup.

Avoiding the news can be tough, especially as you need to stay informed about anything that affects you, your staff and your business.

But it’s better to focus on the things you can control.

Put a stress management policy in place

A stress management policy will help your business tackle stress at work.

Include information on all potential workplace stressors and state the steps you’ll take to cut out or control them.

For example, you could include that you regularly monitor your remote employees’ hours and overtime to ensure they aren’t overworking.

Remember, the policy will apply to everyone in your company. In the end, it’s up to you to enforce it and stay within the rules of the Health and Safety at Work Order 1978.

If you don’t have a policy, it’s a good idea to make one soon to support any workers still on your premises—as well as those working from home. If it’s helpful, think about talking it through with a health & safety expert.

At the moment, the world is quickly changing. It’s best to deal with it one day at a time.

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