The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t just affecting employees’ physical health—it’s impacting their mental health as well. 45% of adults say that the pandemic is affecting them mentally, and concerns about personal finances and job security are taking a toll.
As an HR team, there are several ways to help reduce employees’ stress, from mental health and telemedicine benefits to to tips on saving more this year. Here are the COVID-19 tools you should be sharing with your team right now:
1. Direct employees to your Employee Assistance Program
On top of the existing services your EAP already offers (for everything from drug addiction to financial troubles), some EAP vendors are rolling out coronavirus-specific programs to help employees manage the psychological toll of the crisis and reduce confusion.
Remind your workforce that you offer this benefit. Be specific about the range of assistance it provides, emphasize that it’s free, and explain how to sign up. Also, consider asking employees who’ve used your EAP to vouch for it; peer testimonials will motivate some employees to get on board when they otherwise wouldn’t.
2. Share free mental health resources
Even if your company doesn’t offer an EAP, there are lots of free resources available to help employees care for their mental health right now. Here are a few of our favorites:
Mental health resources: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a network of more than 600 local affiliates who work to raise mental health awareness and provide support and education around the country.
Mental health self-assessments: Mental Health America offers resources to help employees better understand their current needs at no cost.
Guided meditations: UCLA Health offers free mindfulness resources to help employees reset throughout the day.
We’re also constantly updating ALEX with new content to address employees’ current needs—mental health resources included. If you’re looking for a quick way to check in with employees and help them cope during COVID-19, check out the video below. (And share!)
3. Reduce health risks by promoting your telehealth tools
Many of your employees are 1) worried about contracting the coronavirus during a visit to their doctor or urgent care center and 2) unaware your company offers telehealth benefits.
So make a point to clearly explain what you offer, how it can help mitigate the risk of getting sick, and how to register for it online. Then, even if your vendor provides basic information about the product (brochures and the like), consider creating a special FAQ page that provides straightforward answers to the many questions your employees will have about the benefit—both general and coronavirus-specific. Place these FAQs outside your company firewall too, so employees’ family members can access them too.
Sample FAQs to address:
- What kinds of health issues can I use telemedicine for?
- How long is a typical visit? What are the available hours?
- What’s the cost of a virtual visit compared to an in-person visit?
- How do I pay for a virtual doctor’s visit?
- How can I be sure the doctor I’m connected with is trustworthy?
- Who can I call if I have questions about insurance coverage?
(Don’t offer telemedicine yet, but you’d like to? Here’s a shortlist of ten telehealth vendors to help you start your search.)
4. Show employees how to save more this year
While we’re all worried about the possibility of getting sick, a lot of employees’ stress right now is financial. Nearly half say they’re currently worried about their financial situation, and they’re looking to you to be a trusted advisor.
Open enrollment is on the horizon, and it’s a great time to show employees how their benefits choices make a big difference in their finances. This year, it’ll be all about showing them how to choose plans that will give them enough coverage without breaking the bank, why it’s important to keep saving for retirement, and other smart savings tips. Here are a few ideas for what to communicate (and how).
And one last thought: As you’re managing this crisis, trying to make life safer and less chaotic for your employees, make sure to reach out for help when you need it. Sometimes caregivers need care, too.