December 9, 2020

Facing Unique Challenges During the Pandemic

No matter if your employees are back in the office, working from home or some combination of both, it’s safe to assume they are feeling the effects of the pandemic. In fact, 8 in 10 Americans say that the pandemic is a significant source of stress in their life (APA, 2020). Across the workforce, 56% of employees say that job stability is a current stressor (APA, 2020). And, 68% say that their employment has been negatively affected by the pandemic (APA, 2020). On top of their normal job tasks, employees are balancing their family’s safety, children’s education and the financial strain of the pandemic.

Public Sector employees and employers face additional, unique challenges during the pandemic. The nature of public service puts employees in this sector on the front lines during this crisis. Government workers are feeling the stress of the pandemic at higher levels than the general workforce. This stress can lead to an increased need for mental health services, burnout, reduced productivity and absenteeism.

Unfortunately, public sector employers seem to have a skewed sense of employee health and wellbeing. On average, employers believe that their workers’ physical, mental, social and financial health are at healthier levels than they truly are. With mental health being a concern of employees across the public sector, programming addressing these issues is more important than ever.

How can you help support your employees?

Use the start of 2021 to revamp your employee support and wellbeing offerings. About 27% of employees in the public sector report that their employers do not offer mental wellness programs.

If you do not already, talk to your benefits consultant about your options for offering an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to employees. Many EAP’s offer management tools, legal assistance, financial consultations, assistance with everyday tasks including seeking out childcare and eldercare, identity theft services and counseling solutions. 

You may also want to reevaluate the wellbeing resources available to employees. These resources may be via a wellness vendor, medical carrier, or internal resource. Ensure you are utilizing the wellbeing services you have to their full capacity. Check with your benefits consultant to see if you have any additional wellbeing resources available through your medical carrier. These days, most if not all carriers offer some additional programs to help employees navigate health care such as 24/7 nurse lines, provider searches and even wellness rewards and challenges.

If you do offer a substantial wellness and EAP program for employees to use, focus on communication. Important services, like wellness coaching and EAP counseling are often underutilized. During difficult times, these resources can offer valuable support to employees. In order to ensure your employees are aware of these benefits, you may need to rethink your communication strategy.

One way to update your communication strategy is to use technology. Chances are that employees are interacting with coworkers and technology in new ways due to the pandemic. Take advantage of new communication techniques you implemented during the pandemic to better communicate any available resources to employees. Not sure where to start? A short survey may offer valuable insight about the best ways to reach employees during the pandemic.

Use the start of the new year to reevaluate your wellbeing offerings while simultaneously increasing communication. This may be exactly what your employees need to succeed through this new normal.

Want to learn more? Let’s talk!


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