While the primary focus in returning to the workplace has been physical safety and wellness, employee mental health and emotional well-being need attention. Sheltering in place for weeks or months has probably resulted in stress. Work from home conditions may have been less than ideal. Employees may be dealing with delayed medical or dental care; Children or other family members may need care. Some have lost loved ones and others are dealing with substance abuse, anxiety or depression.
A white paper by Travelers insurance recommends return to work strategies:
- Clear and frequent communication with employees.
- Supervisors must be trained to recognize at-risk employees and be proactive in engaging them.
- Evaluate flexible work arrangements to reduce stress.
- Consider workplace accommodations especially for employees at higher risk.
- Provide access to mental health resources.
As an additional recommendation, employees should be encouraged to develop their own support system in the workplace.