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Self-quarantine. Shelter in place. Safe at home. Social distancing. Asymptomatic carrier. Novel coronavirus.
New phrases that have become an everyday part of our lexicon.
We’re standing at least six feet away from people. Working virtually. Avoiding face-to-face visits with parents, grandparents and grandchildren.
It’s unsettling, even frightening. It’s a completely abnormal situation that’s becoming our new normal. For how long? We don’t know. How are our workers handling the stress and uncertainty? How are we handling the stress and uncertainty? What can help? One idea: employee assistance programs (EAPs).
With all the chaos happening around us, it’s easy to forget about your organization’s EAP. But this is a perfect time to make use of its services.
COVID-19 EAP Tips for Your Workers
Remind your workers about the EAP—Give them the contact information and mention the services it provides. There may still be the misperception that the EAP is available to assist primarily with addiction issues. As benefit professionals, we know that isn’t the case—and now is the time to emphasize that fact to your workers.
Your EAP is likely to offer services to assist with many or all of the following challenges that may be impacting your workers and their families during these unprecedented times:
- Depression and anxiety
- Fear and isolation
- Health impairment
- Substance use disorder
- Child-care and virtual schooling issues
- Elder-care issues
- Financial challenges (e.g., wage reductions, student loan repayment, debt, investment losses)
- Housing concerns
- Family issues (e.g., marriage/partner conflicts, parenting challenges)
- Workplace concerns (e.g., sudden work-from-home, job stress, co-worker communications)
- Global worker issues.
EAPs refer workers and their family members to mental health and substance abuse counselors, financial advisers, attorneys, child-care providers, family and child counselors, and others as appropriate. They also provide educational and informational resources as well as referrals to community services.
COVID-19 EAP Tips for Benefit Professionals
Just as your EAP will help your workers (and you personally, if needed), it will help you in your professional role. Check to see whether your EAP will provide:
- Advice on how to handle a challenging personnel issue
- Presentations and/or training programs on a variety of topics for workers and supervisors (ask for virtual options!)
- Articles, tips and resource lists
- Communication ideas to promote EAP use.
In this age of COVID-19, change abounds. Everyone is feeling the effects. Use the resources that are available to you. And stay well.
[Related Reading: Tips for Working From Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic]
Coronavirus and the Workplace
To learn more about the coronavirus and the workplace, visit the International Foundation Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources page.
Listen to COVID-19: Don’t Forget Your EAP.
Julie Stich, CEBS
Vice President, Content, at the International Foundation
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