By WSJ Noted.
As the pandemic continues, many remote employees are reporting feelings of depression and anxiety. To respond to this need, companies are adapting policies and rushing to roll out benefits to head off a surge of employee distress.
1. Managers are being asked to respond more compassionately to employee needs.
Some companies are encouraging managers to call their direct reports on an ongoing basis and check on their well-being. Jimmy Etheredge, CEO of North America at consulting firm Accenture PLC, recently asked his 27 direct reports to attend 2 1/2 hours of virtual training on how to better support colleagues facing mental-health issues.
2. Many companies are expanding access to counseling and mental health services.
Some employers have rolled out digital counseling apps or brought on coordinators to help employees access care during the pandemic. One employee at the ticketing company Eventbrite began leading "recognizing burnout" sessions for other employees, giving colleagues a space to voice their feelings, and to hear advice from mental health professionals about how to cope.
3. Employers are finding creative ways to help boost morale and encourage employees to take time off.
Seattle construction and engineering company McKinstry Co. LLC began issuing companywide "good news Friday" memos, pointing out, "Hey, here's eight things that happened this week that are pretty good," says Dean Allen, the company's CEO. Some companies encourage managers and teams to allow Zoom calls from parks or other outdoor venues, while others are experimenting with allowing employees to work fewer hours a week, with a small pay cut. Additionally, some companies are offering employees bonus "self-care days" off to encourage them to disconnect from their laptops.
4. Leaders are finding new ways to help employees communicate the struggles they're facing.
Some companies have adopted techniques to help employees signal how they're doing. At Dell Technologies Inc., Jennifer "JJ" Davis, senior vice president of corporate affairs, says her team has developed a way to alert colleagues when they are "above the line" -- feeling OK, and able to handle the work load -- or "below the line" and needing assistance. The phrases allow people to convey their state of mind without necessarily divulging personal details. Ms. Davis says she also helps her colleagues cope by being honest about her own challenges. If she needs to start dinner during a meeting that's running long, she'll tell them so, and let them know she's multi-tasking so they feel comfortable doing the same.
Read the original article by Chip Cutter here.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires