15 Ways to Continue Supporting the Mental Health of Remote & On-site Teams

Almost overnight, remote work transformed from a niche benefit to the norm for millions of employees. And looking out for the mental well being of your workforce – both remote and in the office – is now more critical than ever. As many states and cities begin the 'yellow phase' of returning to work, there are still many people who will be working remotely for quite some time and will need support and guidance from their organizations and managers. COVID-19 has impacted remote and on-site teams in all sorts of ways: the cognitive load of processing the rapidly changing world in addition to work; the loss of the familiar scents, sounds, and sights of the office; our inner critics always watching us on camera in virtual meetings; the perceived need to be "on" 24/7; the cognitive dissonance of managing virtual communications; and virtual fatigue from the verbal and nonverbal demands of being "on" for video calls. So, what can we do about these changes that our teams and we are experiencing? Here are some recommendations for providing ongoing behavioral health support for yourself, your team, and your organization. Schedule Breaks. Without regular routines to bookend the day, it can be hard to delineate the hours allocated to our jobs and the hours we save for ourselves and our families. Intentionally [...]

2020-06-17T16:21:00-04:00June 17th, 2020|Pandemic, Workplace Mental Health|

How Employers Can Support Their Employees

In the workplace, chronic stress affects everything from quality of work to productivity and engagement. According to a study by Farleigh Dickenson University, sixty percent of lost workdays each year can be attributed to stress. In fact, according to the Global Benefits Attitude Survey, highly stressed employees take almost twice as many sick days a year as their counterparts who report low stress levels. This absenteeism impacts productivity, and ironically, can create more stress as the stressed employee falls further behind in workload. Beyond absenteeism, the same survey found that productivity also impacts “presenteeism,” a phrase used to describe when we show up to work unwell and unproductive. Here, rates were 50% higher in highly stressed employees than in their low stressed counterparts.  Whether an employee is absent or merely present, stress directly impacts productivity in the workplace. Stress also affects the quality of an employee’s work. Simply put, when we are present but unproductive, we are not at our best, and therefore our output won’t be optimal. But stress can also contribute to mistakes, especially as employees become frazzled and have trouble concentrating. Additionally, as stress gives way to frustration and anger, the quality of working relationships can be impacted, ultimately making it harder for teams to achieve high performance.  But perhaps of greater concern for employers is that [...]

2021-01-04T21:22:41-05:00March 6th, 2020|Stress, Workplace Mental Health|

Managing Stress at Work

Employee stress is a growing concern for businesses today. According to the American Institute of Stress, stress in the workplace can lead to:  Mistakes and lack of concentration  Decreased productivity, especially with absenteeism and “presenteeism”  Disengagement and turnover  Inflammation and chronic disease There is a lot that business owners and managers can do to help address stress in the workplace, but don’t wait for your employer to tackle it. Take your mental health into your own hands.  Vacation First, take your vacation! According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the US has the lowest number of vacation days in the world (and some of the highest stress levels, according to a Gallup World Poll), and we don’t even use all of our vacation.   How many of us carry over vacation days? Or worse, have colleagues who brag about how little vacation they have used? It might end up impacting their health and well being.  Recovery for Peak Performance  Still not convinced to take that vacation time? Even top athletes know that peak performance is based on using periods of rest and recovery to counter the days they exert more (aka stress).  Recovery is an important element of peak performance. Vacation days are part of that recovery.      Self-care is also part of building in that recovery day in [...]

2020-01-28T02:10:33-05:00January 28th, 2020|Stress, Workplace Mental Health|

Compassion Fatigue When Caring for Dying Patients

by Jennifer Forik, MSN, CRNP, ANP-BC When I am asked what I do for a living, I enthusiastically and proudly say, “I’m a palliative care nurse practitioner!” Unfortunately, I usually do not receive the same upbeat response. I usually am told, “Oh wow, that’s a tough job” or, “Oh, so you care for people at the end of life?” Yes! Isn’t that amazing?   Palliative care is a type of medical care that helps with symptom management from chronic illnesses, and guides discussions around goals of care with patients. This type of decision-making allows the patients to decide on how they would like to proceed with their medical treatment. Sometimes patients decide that hospice care is the best option for them (Hospice care focuses on the comfort of a chronically ill, terminally ill or seriously ill patient's pain and symptoms, while to their emotional and spiritual needs).  So, how hard is it to care for people at the end of their life? The answer, in a nutshell? It’s very hard. Nursing is a calling; nurses are passionate about their profession. There have been several times in my career as a palliative care nurse practitioner that I have sat at the bedside of a dying patient and held their hand until they passed, or until family members were able to make it [...]

2021-07-31T13:02:48-04:00September 20th, 2019|Lived Experience, Workplace Mental Health|
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