As cases of the latest COVID-19 wave steadily decline, employers are confident that their employees can now safely return to the office, and for good this time. Friday, March 4, marks Employee Appreciation Day, and as mandates lift and the country drifts back into its pre-pandemic ways, WorkLife Partnership wants to encourage you to implement policies and practices that demonstrate appreciation for your workers every day of the year and create a culture that values and celebrates the balance between work and life. 

While everyone longs for the return to normalcy in many aspects, going back to the workplace can bring anxiety and fear of losing some of the autonomy and flexibility that working from home provided many workers. To those facing stressors like child or elder care, or health issues, a return-to-office may pose as an obstacle for those struggling to navigate life’s challenges. 

By implementing the following strategies into the workplace, you can help show your employees that you appreciate them and care about their lives both inside and outside of the office:

Prioritize building trust

Trust in your employer has been shown to be a key predictor of employee satisfaction, and high job satisfaction leads to greater employee productivity and employee retention. Try to make it easier for employees to ask for what they need with clear lines of communication. Shame and embarrassment often prevent people from asking for help. Set the example to build a culture where employees feel comfortable requesting assistance when they need it. Leaders should share their own experiences, and ask influential employees and managers to do the same to help validate what everyone is going through. 

Be accommodating

Look for ways to be flexible with schedules and take individual needs into account. If possible, offering paid mental health days demonstrates compassion and helps employees recharge. WorkLife has learned that when workers request individual accommodations, they often feel they need to share more than they would like to justify their request. Leaders should be proactive in protecting their privacy and emphasize to employees up front that you only need to know the accommodations they need, not the reasons why.

Support for your employees

Supporting employee mental health is an important step in creating a workplace where workers feel valued for more than just their work performance. WorkLife’s Guide to Supporting Employee Mental Health is a resource you can use to support individual employees and to strengthen your company’s culture. Here are some of the things the guide will walk you through:

  • How mental health shows up at work 
  • Common signs that someone may need mental health support
  • How to talk to an employee in crisis
  • What you can do to help
  • Where to refer employees for support
  • How to make a resource referral that sticks
  • Building a supportive workplace culture
  • Understanding the role of the EAP
  • Recommended employee benefits

If you’d like to learn more about how WorkLife can support you in helping your employees, don’t hesitate to contact us.