How to support employees through tough times (even if they have nothing to do with work)

As much as we try to separate work from our personal lives, difficult life events such as losing someone we care deeply about or going through a divorce and facing financial hardship can disrupt and affect our work lives. The coronavirus pandemic has put increased stress on everyone, with many people now suffering from loneliness and having poor mental health; things that inevitably will impact on how work is carried out.

As an employer, it can be difficult to support your employees through tough times that are not related to work. However, you must provide emotional support so that your staff can still do their work effectively. Here is how to manage an employee going through a personal crisis.

Speak to them immediately

Although approaching a colleague who is going through a tough time can be difficult, speaking to them early on is important. As soon as you hear of their crisis, sit them down and ask them what you and the business as a whole can do to help. Would they like counselling? Do they need to take time off work? Do they want to make the team aware of the event?

Finding out what they need to make this time as easy as possible is central in them being able to cope and for you to be able to adjust and adapt your business accordingly, such as planning for days off and changing their workload. However, do not pry into their problems and instead, just offer empathy.

Don’t force support upon them

While offering support and making them aware of how you can help is a must, never force support upon your employee. Some people will feel comfortable accepting help, whereas others react badly and prefer the workplace to act as a distraction from their personal crisis. If you have offered your support, it is up to your employee to decide whether to take it or not.

Check-in regularly

Regardless of whether your employee has accepted any form of support or not, still frequently check in with them to see how they’re doing. Despite not taking your help, they will likely still be struggling.

Rather than focusing these questions on how things are at home, direct them towards work. Ask things like “Are you handling your workload?” so that your employee knows you are being more lenient with their work at the moment and that they have the opportunity to pass on work if it is getting too much.

Written by
Scott Dylan
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Scott Dylan

Scott Dylan

I’m Scott Dylan, Inc & Co Co-Founder. I oversee the company's strategic direction and work to acquire and invest in distressed and viable companies, helping businesses improve their business processes and setting strategic directions.


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