Purpose-Driven Leaders Think Differently: Boosting Employees’ Mental Health During a Pandemic

Three simple practices that purpose-driven leaders can adopt now to boost employees’ mental health during the pandemic. 

COVID-19 has placed a spotlight on the ongoing mental health crisis. While the pandemic continues to pose challenges to communities across the globe, many business leaders are in a position to create tangible solutions to address the common hardships of mental health, especially in the workplace. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that nearly 41% of American adults struggle with mental health issues stemming from COVID-19, with the number increasing to 75% among 18 to 24 years old.  

The top challenges they face: Anxiety over layoffs, burnout, financial security, childcare, and homeschooling responsibilities.  

In a time when individuals are likely to reach their breaking point, it’s vital for business leaders to prioritize employees’ mental health and develop a company culture that offers long-term solutions to help employees become healthier and more mentally resilient .  

In a recent article, Forbes outlined three purpose-driven perspectives leaders can adopt to support employees’ mental health.  

  • Eliminate Personal Disruptors: Make mental health a top priority within business practices. As a business leader, take time to check-in with employees and listen to them by creating open lines of communication — a phone call, personal email, or survey — for them to be able to express concerns and/or pressing needs. 
  • Model Mentally-Healthy Behaviors: Strive to be more vulnerable in conversation with employees by sharing with them your struggles and the tactics you are using to address them. Give employees permission to show up and do the same.  

For internal calls, develop positive mental health practices around video communications, as employees are facing a myriad of challenges that many don’t know about. Practice mindfulness through simple solutions such as determining whether a video call is necessary for certain meetings or encouraging employees to opt-in for a phone call for one-on-calls to allow for restorative walks or time away from the computer. 

  • Be Transparent: Be open about where the business stands. Employees are dealing with fears of their own, at work and home. Host town halls to allow employees to share personal updates, concerns, and successes. In return, share with them the state of the business and how they can create ideas and solutions for problem-solving. 

While these steps alone will not solve the mental health challenges employees face, they are practices that business leaders can use to create a pathway to greater well-being and to give employees a mental boost during these challenging times.