Whether it is financial, mental, or physical, in the workplace or at home, tough times in our lives are inevitable. However, though we cannot always prevent these things from happening, there is a lot we can do to make them better. So, without further ado, here are 5 easy ways to give employees support through difficult times.
- It's okay not to be okay
According to the Mental Health Foundation, over 14% of employees experience mental health struggles in the workplace. Due to this, mental health problems account for 12.7% of days taken off for sickness in the UK. However, due to the stigma, many people will push their feelings aside, which can ultimately cause mental health to take a knock in the long run.
As this is such a key contributor to absences in the workplace, it is essential to legitimise the impact of mental health issues. Show your employees that it is okay not to be okay sometimes; sick leave for mental health problems is just as reasonable and justifiable as sick leave for physical ailments.
- Encourage self care and mindfulness activities
Make resources and coping strategies easily available and accessible to your team. In doing so, employees will be able to spot and deal with things early, and know exactly how to better themselves. The most transferable coping techniques for those tough times include self care and mindfulness, focusing on the senses, breathing, and relaxation.
- Offer useful employee benefits
Tough times are often caused by an unpredictable event or crisis, which has added an extra layer of stress to our day-to-day lives. Thus, it is important for employers to use their platform to support employees with tangible benefits that can actually help.
For example, during the cost-of-living crisis, income protection insurance, for some, might be priceless. In case of an accident or long-term illness, group critical illness cover will give employees reassurance that they can get the help they need. And finally, life insurance gives a financial safety net during health care crises, such as the coronavirus pandemic.
- Be proactive and constructive
When times are tough, it is only natural that some people will find it difficult to hear or take on board feedback or criticism that could be negative. Instead, try to be proactive in your approach to problem solving, working with employees through every step when required.
If criticism is ever warranted, however, this does not mean that you cannot be open and honest about it. The key here is to make sure all criticism is constructive, and backed up by potential ways and techniques that could eradicate the issue going forward.
- Allow open communication
There are numerous reasons why employees might be having a tough time, from problems at home to problems at work. In 2019, 52% of people with mental health issues cited workplace pressure as the cause of their problems, while 36% said it was their workload, and 35% reported a lack of support.
By encouraging employees to talk to you, a HR representative, or a nominated person, you will be able to notice patterns and concerns early, preventing these tough times from turning into long-term sickness.
With these 5 things in mind, your company will be able to better support employees, boosting morale and employee satisfaction, whilst simultaneously reducing sick days and downtime.