How to support your workers through COVID-19?
Everyone experiences adversity at some point in their life, and employees are no exception to this. In fact, about 20% of employees take time off work because of mental health issues.
In the current COVID-19 climate this number is only expected to go up. In this time people are faced with feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, job insecurity, financial strain, and loss of social connections. Along with many other businesses in this period, you are probably being confronted with challenges you never thought imaginable. But it is important to remember you are not alone, and there is an important program you can implement to get your business back on track!
Provide an Employee Assistance Program to your employees
A critical step you can take is providing the support your workers need to get through this time, and not letting them suffer in silence. By implementing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) your workers will feel supported through their personal and work-related stress. EAP involves confidential and professional counselling for your workers and their families with a qualified psychologist, at no expense to them. This program centres on facilitating personal growth and overcoming challenges which is beneficial in any circumstance, but particularly in the current COVID-19 period.
By implementing EAP your workers can be supported through; coping with new and unfamiliar ways of work, coming to terms with letting go of work until more is available, and coping with losing co-workers who may have been made redundant in this period. However, EAP is not just limited to work-related issues, employees may be experiencing personal stressors such as increased financial strain of supporting their families, and anxiety about their loved ones falling ill.
While you may be thinking your employees seem fine on the surface, it is important to recognise just how common mental illness is, as about half of Australians experience some kind of mental illness in their lifetime. Keeping this in mind, although your workers may appear fine there is a good chance they may be quietly suffering. By providing them with the support they need from EAP you can produce life changing impacts, whilst at the same time boost your business productivity and efficiency.
What are the benefits Employers receive from EAP?
If you are an employer, you can experience substantial benefits from EAP, these can include but are not limited to:
- Reduced absenteeism and stress or sick leave.
If your workers are provided with a service to help cope with their stress and mental health issues, they can proactively overcome these challenges and will no longer need to take time off for their mental health. Research has shown by providing support for mental health in the workplace, the rate of mental health absenteeism halves. As stress can also lead to many physical symptoms, by providing EAP to reduce stress and promote an adaptive lifestyle you are also mitigating your employees’ sick leave.
- Increased productivity and focus in the workplace.
EAP aims to reduce the background pressures an employee may be facing such as issues with adjustment, financial strain or relationship conflict. By removing these outside pressures and teaching employees how to cope through these problems, employees will increase their focus on their work tasks and decrease their focus on unrelated issues. They will no longer spend time at work worrying about these background pressures, which will only serve to boost their productivity!
- Improved loyalty and staff retention
Implementing EAP sends a strong message to your workers that you care about their health and wellbeing. This is crucial for building your relationships with your workers. If your workers feel supported and cared for it is more likely they will feel safe and secure in the workplace, reducing employee turnover. This will reduce your costs of hiring and retraining and can also have long term effects of increasing your staff’s loyalty. For example, in a post-COVID-19 world, your staff will continue to value the strong support base you offered them in this tough time, which will help to improve retention.
- Mitigated claims for WorkCover
Through EAP your organisation can also be provided with effective back to work plans which can help to prevent your workers falling ill or enduring injuries. This can reduce claims for WorkCover which can in-turn reduce your overall costs and provide a safe and protected environment for your employees.
How to access EAP for your workers?
We can provide you with EAP services today! Remember supporting your workers is always important but is critical in the current pandemic with increased levels of stress, financial strain and uncertainty. Our psychologists can offer your workers the support they need to overcome these unpredictable circumstances and help drive productivity, focus and success in the workplace. We can help your staff with both personal and work-related issues and offer external, face-to-face and telephone counselling.
Ready to support your workers and benefit your organisation? Call us today on 1300 659 067, please note that employees’ names will remain confidential.