Employees who either work from home or come into the workplace have been familiarizing themselves with COVID-19 procedures. However, with the approach of the second wave, tighter restrictions are beginning to be put back in place as we head into the winter months. Thus, it is important to consider this beforehand to support your employees during these upcoming winter months.
With the upcoming combination of COVID-19 restrictions and colder, shorter days, psychologists worry that negative effects on mental health will increase in the following months. Steve Joordens (a psychology professor at the University of Toronto) says that anxiety has been the primary mental health issue since the beginning of the pandemic, with the worry of personal health, job security and the return to normality.
Psychologists worry that this COVID-19 anxiety will combine with higher levels of depression in the following months as we will begin to have days with limited sunlight. Especially for employees working from home, the feeling of isolation may feel increased with both the cold weather and COVID-19 restrictions keeping people indoors. Especially taking into consideration the upcoming holiday season, limits on social gatherings can prevent families from gathering together or having office holiday parties as normally annually held.
Consider the effects that the upcoming months can have on your employees. Always provide mental health supports as a best and ongoing practice. Where social limitations exist, consider having holiday socializations online with your team. Remind your team on the importance of consistent communication with others in their support system and to keep this routine. Be sure to check in with your team on how they are adjusting over the next few months, and ask how you can best support them during these uncertain times.