In a recent article, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) warns of an “echo pandemic” of mental health issues caused by fear and stress.
A recent study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) on the impact of COVID-19 on Canadians found that “women had higher levels of anxiety and loneliness than men, and parents of children under 18 had higher levels of depression compared to adults without children in this age group.”
Especially now, your employees’ mental health should be a daily consideration for your organization. It’s critical to continue supporting employees by offering as much scheduling flexibility, work-from-home options and access to mental health resources as possible. Remind employees to be mindful of stressors they encounter while at work and encourage time-off and self-care.
Continue reading to learn a few effective, at-home DIY hacks for improving mental health at work, for you and for your employees.
1. Eat lunch away from the desk
With the majority of employees continuing to work from home, working lunches have become more common. However, it’s best to encourage your employees to take a proper 30 minutes or one hour lunch break. A change in scenery enables employees to pause and relax, helping the mind to recharge and your employees to feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day’s tasks.
2. Keep a work gratitude journal
Another way to improve mental health at work is through a gratitude journal, which is a record of someone’s accomplishments and successes at work or in their personal life. By focusing energy on positive wins, employees can help redirect negative thoughts and encourage themselves to be productive and accomplish even more.
3. Send thank-you notes
Appreciating others and recognizing the positive impact that they’ve made can help increase positivity throughout your team. Encourage each employee to acknowledge and thank someone in your Monday stand-up meetings, or use a recognition and reward program such as Guusto to generate employee peer-to-peer feedback.
4. Put away work at the end of the day
As much as possible, encourage employees to hide away their work when the workday is over. Recommend that they stash their work laptop in a drawer or close the door to the home office and only come back to it the next morning. This separation between work and home can help employees to truly disconnect at the end of the day.
5. Schedule time to digitally declutter
The state of someone’s inbox (e.g. a high number of unread emails) can also be a source of stress. Suggest to your employees that they book off a bit of time, either Monday morning or Friday afternoon, to clean out their inbox. They should also unsubscribe from any companies whose emails are no longer relevant and delete old documents.
6. Switch things up
The experience of trying something new can help an employee gain new perspectives, at work and in their personal life.
Here are a few suggestions of ways that your employees can switch things up at work:
- Prepare a cup of tea instead of coffee in the morning
- Sign up for a virtual lunch-time yoga session
- Say hello on Slack to a coworker you rarely speak to
- Join or host a virtual happy hour with the team
Improving mental health at work is something that we can all proactively do.
Organizations have a responsibility to ensure that employees have the opportunity and resources to be able to identify signs of stress, fatigue, or feelings of being professionally or personally overwhelmed. Your employees should feel equipped to manage the stresses of work and home (and work at home), and feel supported in the journey to better mental health.