Employees concerned about the coronavirus have probably started asking your HR team for advice on how to safely access health care and deal with the stress this health crisis is adding to all of our lives. Here’s some advice on what to communicate sooner than later—and how:

1. Direct employees to your Employee Assistance Program

On top of the existing interventions 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. 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.)

3. Link to local resources

In addition to sharing general information and safety tips, provide links to the public health sites for any cities or states in which your employees live. (Here’s the one for Chicago, home base for most Jellyvision employees.) These sites should offer the up-to-date, region-specific information your employees want the most.

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. 🙂