With summer kicking off, many working parents are finding themselves overwhelmed with the chaotic energy that school breaks can bring. Worrying about child care coupled with summer camps and activities, feeling worn out by energetic children, and the challenge of balancing work and home life can take their toll…and negatively impact mental health.
During this season of stress, every little bit of relief helps — and employers can acknowledge summer can be even more stressful for parents and show support in additional ways.
The growing importance of health and wellness
Health and wellness have become increasingly important workplace topics — as they are vital for employee happiness and an integral part of work-life balance. In fact, wellness programs often appear as part of a company’s perks and benefits. Health and wellness encompass much more than just physical fitness. The stress and strain of our busy lives has put mental health on center stage, especially for moms. Many companies understand the importance of mental health and wellness, caring not simply for their employees as individuals but also recognizing the truth that happy, well-adjusted employees lead to improved organizational success.
Here are 5 ways employers can support health and wellness in their employees this summer.
Provide space for employee resource groups (ERG's)
Everyone wants to feel seen and heard. Yet the hustle and bustle of the workplace can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation. Employee resource groups, or ERGs, are a great way to show employees they are not alone. The evidence is clear: ERGs promote feelings of inclusion and contribute to an employee’s overall wellness and happiness at work. In a recent Werklabs survey, nearly two-thirds of employees indicated that ERGs strongly contribute to creating an inclusive culture.
Parenting can be overwhelming and isolating. Having an outlet of support with an ERG for parents can help them feel less alone and offer valuable space for them to share ideas about parenting over the summer…and simply to vent.
Offer mental health benefits and perks such as Talkspace
While peers can provide a shoulder to lean on, having a professional provide guidance can be invaluable for mental health. Many companies are offering mental health services as part of their benefits and perks packages. Online therapy resources such as Talkspace provide a variety of therapeutic options that integrate seamlessly into employees’ lives with online video sessions or even support through messaging.
Encourage use of PTO
Are your employees using their PTO? Summer is a great time to remind people to take advantage of their well-earned time off. As an employer, you have the power to set the culture around taking time off. Ensure that employees feel empowered to do so and can enjoy their time off guilt-free. Encourage them to truly unplug and resist the temptation to check emails. Having the time away where you can just be can do wonders for mental health.
Remind managers of the importance of team and leader support during periods of employee PTO. For an employee, knowing they are supported and have the blessing of their co-workers can alleviate any feelings of guilt they may have about being away.
Have leadership lead by example
A company’s culture often starts from the top down. Leadership sets the tone for managers, who in turn influence their teams. It’s the difference between telling and showing: when you follow through on your words with actions, the effect is much more powerful. When members of the C-suite take time off and use PTO, they are setting an example of prioritizing balance and creating a healthier work environment for all.
Establish flex hours
Often, the difficulty of summer results from the disruption of routine during the school year may require more flexibility. This can include honoring early birds and night owls and giving grace for blocked off time in the middle of the day.Work with your employees to help create work schedules that work for them during these months.
Remember that summer is a time for people to reconnect, take vacation, and enjoy the warm weather. Consider the ways you can honor this season as an employer. At The Mom Project, we offer Summer Fridays, allowing employees to clock out early to soak up the sun and quality time with their loved ones. Gestures like this can truly show employees how much you care and value their well-being.
Part of being a great employer includes honoring who your employees are as individuals. Recognizing the unique challenges that they face shows your commitment to them as employees and as people. This summer, demonstrate to your employees how important they are with actions that encourage their well-being.