While most employers are evaluating the physical workplace to determine how to keep employees safe, addressing employee anxiety and workplace mental health are important considerations. Many employees report symptoms of anxiety and even panic when thinking about the return to work. A majority of Canadians (83%) say that mental and physical health are equally important during this time.*
What can employers do during this unprecedented return to work? Take a 360-degree view, and consider all aspects of employee health and safety. Organizations need to ensure they have taken into account employees’ emotional need for confidence in the return to the work plan. There needs to be a process and mechanism for hearing and considering employees feedback.
Virtual mental health therapy can help with anxiety and fear. Telemedicine provides access to health professionals from the comfort of home. Does the benefits plan include EAP or other support services? Providing a list of the services available can help.
What if employees feel too anxious to work? Feeling anxious isn’t a disability but it’s important to be prepared and understand all accommodation obligations. For some employees, a mental health condition may have been triggered by the pandemic. For others, recent events and added stressors could exacerbate an existing mental health condition. Employers need to consider both physical and psychological safety, taking a 360-degree approach.