As the economy gradually re-opens during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new toolkit is now available to support employers and employees in navigating the mental health implications of returning to physical workplaces.
Developed by Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Ontario Division, in partnership with Mental Health Works and BounceBack Ontario, Return to the workplace: A psychological toolkit for heading back to work aims to serve employees and employers across a variety of sectors. This toolkit provides guidance on how to support the mental health of individuals as they plan safe transitions back into their workplaces and to help employers as they develop policies and procedures for supporting staff returning to the work environment.
For employees, anxiety about returning to the previous ways of working and engaging with others is natural and expected. This toolkit aims to support employees currently working from home and struggling with thoughts about returning to the workplace. It contains information about the common emotions people may be feeling as they think about returning to their workplace and guides readers through coping strategies.
Just as employees may be struggling with thoughts about returning to the workplace, employers are having to consider several elements that need to be addressed as part of return-to-work planning. This may range from creating physical safety and infection control in the physical workspace, to considering possible risks as employees enter and leave their offices, to the impact on productivity. This toolkit takes the employer perspective into consideration with guidelines that may help them take their employees’ mental health into consideration as they plan for a safe return to the workplace.