There is no magic bullet here, but there are some things that employers are discussing or doing to alleviate some of the current employee/employer concerns.
First and foremost, everyone, including leaders, need to practice self-care. For most of us, it’s difficult to recognize our need for a mental break, and then even more difficult to take action to do something. There is a reason that flight attendants tell passengers to put on their oxygen first before helping others. If you are low on oxygen, it’s going to be hard to give it to others.
Employers should continue to offer paid time off either continuously or intermittently for mental health breaks. Few employers can shut down entirely for some period of time, but a rolling time off or additional mental health days would be welcomed by employees.
Many employees report that they want to continue to work from home in some capacity, but employers who have returned employees onsite part or full-time are finding that employees are actually much happier to be around colleagues, and this is especially true with younger workers. Virtual engagement is convenient, but it can’t replace the relationships that form working in the same location together. Employers should be offering onsite return-to-work options.
One woman who started her job at a Richmond-based company virtually after college graduation was extremely unhappy working there until she returned to the office onsite two months ago. Since then, she reports being much happier, enjoying the job and the company, and making new friends, including lunches out and after-work happy hours.