The COVID-19 pandemic has passed its nine-month mark in the U.S. — and it’s still difficult to say a true end is in sight. Maybe you’re used to this “new normal” by now, or maybe not. But in any case, don’t forget about your medical sales reps. This global crisis continues to have significant ramifications on employees’ mental health.
More than half of workers feel their mental health has been worse since the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a recent survey from Paychex. Additionally, one-third of workers reported difficulty working at their typical productivity level due to worsened mental health.
Yet, employees don’t feel safe talking about it. According to the study, 54% of workers felt uncomfortable talking to their managers and supervisors about mental health. Some feared that discussing it could lead to being fired or furloughed, and others thought it could cost them a promotion.
These fears aren’t surprising, given that only 26% of managers checked on their team members’ mental health during COVID-19.
Managers must help medical sales reps feel safe discussing their mental health at work, especially during a global pandemic. Here’s how:
The first step in destigmatizing mental health concerns in your company is to educate all employees. The curriculum should include a basic understanding of mental health issues and an overview of your company’s support offerings.
In addition to policies like mental health days and medical insurance coverage for mental health needs, there are many existing educational resources you can leverage. Develop a collection that fits your company’s needs.
Ensure that everyone from medical sales reps to the top leadership teams are aware of your workplace programs and policies that support mental well-being.
It’s not enough for employees to know about your policies. After all, just because employees are told that mental health is a priority doesn’t mean they’ll believe it. Senior executives must walk the walk.
Provide executives with additional training to help them talk openly about mental health issues with their teams. They need to demonstrate leadership around mental health consistently. This includes discussing it repeatedly and sharing new resources with managers as they become available.
As a manager, you must put these policies into practice as well. It’s important to initiate discussions with medical sales reps to check in on their mental health.
According to the Paychex study, employees were most comfortable talking about their mental health with their managers over the phone, rather than online chat, so that might be a great place to start.
When you approach your employees, it’s crucial to listen actively. Make sure they understand your conversation will not impact their job or future promotions. And if they have concerns about their mental health, enable them to take mental health days or work together to establish a better work-life balance.
This conversation is not the end of your work, either. You must check-in with your team regularly so that they feel safe coming to you if anything changes. Establish these habits during the pandemic, and they will become second nature long after.