Text: Guardian. Caring for your employees’ mental health. How do you stay connected while working remotely? Linda Hogan, Guardian head of employee relations
The ways that I stay connected with my employees while we're working remotely is to reach out to them about five to 10 minutes each week. I make a personal phone call to them. It's a great way for us to get one-on-one time together. We talk usually about their work, their priorities, any challenges they might be having getting their work done.
And then we have a few minutes to really connect. And I learn and I listen and learn so many things about what's going on for them. It really has created a lot of trust and security and safety for them during this time of the pandemic.
Text: How do you identify if your employees are struggling?
I can often identify that someone is struggling in the office because I've seen a big change in their behavior. Changes in behavior are things that we can observe, particularly since we spend so much time together at work. When someone misses a meeting or a deadline or is even late for a meeting, sometimes these can be indicators that they might be struggling with something.
If a project is late, and they aren't getting it done, and they haven't talked to you about it, it's another indicator that they might need some additional help and assistance. So I use those observations to have conversations with them one on one and figure out the path forward together.
Text: How can companies help employees with mental health struggles?
In the workplace, there are many things that companies do to support employees who have mental illness challenges. Particularly at Guardian, we have lots of resources available to our employees through our benefits programs, through the flexibility that we can provide with work schedules. We have a number of leaves, leaves of disability, as well as a reasonable accommodation process.
All of these alternatives usually are ways for the employee and the manager to find solutions. We can work together to find solutions in an interactive process, flexing and bending and adopting new ways of working. The workplace can be particularly stressful in these times. People suffer from anxiety, as well as depression, so understanding what those symptoms are, understanding what changes and behaviors you might see, and then asking for help.