Saying that 2020 has been trying for many people is a vast understatement. Most have had to isolate themselves for at least a time, often choosing to forgo vacations and visit with family and friends in the name of safety.
Additionally, financial and personal struggles are common. For example, having to overcome a layoff or finding ways to ensure a child attending school remotely has the support they need isn’t easy.
Mental health concerns are a frequent occurrence due to the pandemic. And, with the holidays arriving quickly, they may become more prevalent. If you are wondering why you should keep an eye on your and your team’s mental health and how to go about it, here’s what you need to know.
An Unprecedented Holiday Season
The holiday season is usually a time for gathering with loved ones and celebrating. With COVID-19 still being a concern, getting together may not be an option. This can be incredibly disheartening for many, particularly those who’ve long felt isolated because of the pandemic. A traditionally joyful time of year might feel tainted, which can significantly impact mental health.
Additionally, some people have trouble during the holiday season even without COVID-19 factoring into the equation. Not everyone views the time of year fondly in the first place. Further, the darker skies, shorter days, and cold weather may negatively affect some employees.
Signs That Someone Is Struggling
While not everyone is guaranteed to struggle with their mental health this holiday season, a higher number than usual might, that’s why it’s wise to look for early warning signs of a worker in distress, ensuring you can intervene quickly should it be necessary.
One of the biggest signals to watch out for is someone secluding themselves further. If an employee is skipping virtual social gatherings or shying away from small talk, particularly if they are normally reasonably outgoing, that could be a red flag.
Another sign that managers may notice is a decline in work quality. If a person becomes sad or depressed, they may not be mentally able to maintain their usual standard. Productivity may dip, or they may make more mistakes than they typically would, for example.
An increased number of unplanned absences is another signal. While these may be less likely to occur if your employees work from home during COVID-19, a significant uptick in unexpected absences is also a warning sign.
What to Do to Help Your Employees
The most significant thing managers can do stay in contact, particularly with employees working from home during the pandemic. Regular one-on-one check-ins give you a chance to gauge a worker’s mood and speak frankly about the current situation. Ask them how they are doing personally, and let them know that you’re there to listen.
Additionally, monitor employee work quality for signs of changes. If someone’s performance begins to decline, approach them with compassion. Let them know that you’ve noticed the shift but, instead of criticizing them, focus the conversation on why a change occurred. You may discover that the employee is struggling, burned out, or overwhelmed. If so, you can work together to lighten the load and get them back on track.
Mental health struggles may continue to remain common due to the pandemic, and the holiday season may be especially hard for many. By staying vigilant and engaged, managers can watch for warning signs and take a proactive stance on the matter, ensuring their team has the support they need during these unprecedented times.
If you’d like to find out more, the staff at The Advance Group can help. Contact us today.