September 2, 2021
The topic of employee burnout isn’t new, but as a result of the pandemic, research shows that employees are now experiencing burnout in three interconnected ways – emotional or physical exhaustion, a sense of disconnection from work or family, and feeling less effective overall.
As workplaces strive to adapt and move forward during the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic, putting the spotlight on employee mental health and well-being is becoming increasingly important. Taking the first steps toward taking better care of your workforce may seem daunting, but just like all major changes, it all starts at the top.
Leading with Compassion and Openness
When discussing how to take care of others, the familiar example of an airplane safety demo comes to mind. When the flight attendants tell you how to use the oxygen mask, they stipulate that you should always put your own mask on first before assisting someone else. The same logic applies to mental health; in order to take the best care of your employees’ mental health, you should first make time for your own self-care.
It’s always a great time to take a mindful moment and reconnect to your passions and your purpose. Developing a daily mindfulness practice, setting your intentions, and identifying your feelings without judgment can not only make you more present for others, but it can also help you relate to the unique struggles and challenges your employees are facing.
Opportunities for Leaders to Make a Difference in Employee Mental Health
In addition to taking care of yourself, there are multiple other ways you can prioritize the well-being and mental health of your workforce. One of the most important ways to achieve this is by creating and fostering a culture of mindfulness. This may seem easier said than done, but you can start by:
- Staying connected to the pulse of the people through internal dialogue and communications
- Having daily huddles on hot button issues or other relevant topics that may surface complicated emotions for people
- Learning what’s important to your employees and providing resources and programming to address these needs as they evolve
- Introducing different tools, technology, and ways that employees can connect to and get to know each other
- Keeping employees connected to and passionate about your company’s mission; a great way to facilitate this is through internal newsletters or through curated emails that come from you directly
Making Happiness a Key Metric
Amid all of the metrics, measurements, and key performance indicators your company is capturing in order to ensure success, adding “happiness” to the list and making it a priority can set your company up for forward movement. Along with building a culture of mindfulness, leaders can boost the happiness factor by:
- Adapting to how offices are changing during the pandemic, such as honoring flexible schedules and implementing hybrid home/office opportunities
- Addressing different home dynamics by adopting “no meeting” times during the afternoon and mental health days for the entire office
- Understanding signs of burnout in your workforce and offering resources and self-care opportunities for employees who may be feeling overwhelmed
Remember – leading by example plays a huge difference in changing your office culture into one with an increased focus on mental health and mindfulness. When you take care of yourself first, only then can you really begin to take care of others.