COVID-19 and Mental Health: Take Care of Yourself, Your Family and Your Business
Many of us, even as essential workers, find ourselves working from home these days. It’s important that we do our best to support our employees, businesses, and of course friends and families through this pandemic. Our social circles can and should remain strong and we should be reaching out to one another for support.
I am a business owner who is not seeing my own employees on a daily basis. We are staying connected and checking in with one another. Having our usual morning meeting via telephone or Zoom and sending emails throughout the day. There have been times we have been in the office together. We keep our distance and use suitable cleaning products throughout on door handles, copiers, and supplies. We also trust that none of us or our clients are entering the building while exhibiting any symptoms related to COVID-19.
Clients may also need to hear from you or someone at your business so they too can be reassured that you are still working on their matters. They may want to know that any concerns that they may have will continue to be addressed. Communication is key throughout this time and we are very lucky to have various means of communication from a distance.
Many employees are worried about their employment and whether they will be laid off. If you as an employer haven’t had these conversations with each employee yet, you should do so. At least in hopes of alleviating some of their concerns or worries.
Small and medium businesses (including charities and not-for-profits) currently await the details of the wage subsidy that was increased from 10% – 75% on March 24, 2020. What we know today is that subsidy will be available to businesses with a payroll of less than $1m. The subsidy would cover up to 75% of the first $58,700.00 of salary per employee. This means the maximum amount of the subsidy would translate to $847 per week. The employer would be responsible for the balance of the employee’s wages.
It is not yet clear how the payments will be provided to employers – these details are expected soon. However, as Prime Minister Trudeau noted in his announcement “the goal is to ensure as many people as possible keep their jobs, and their paycheques”.
Your Friends and Family
We know the rules, you should only be with the people you live with on a day to day basis. Despite having to avoid face-to-face meetings and our usual dinner dates or weekend visits we can still remain connected. Facetime and group chats and the sharing of funny memes or videos remind us all that we have connections and support.
For those of us with children we know we are probably offering too little on the homeschool front and too much iPad, Tik Tok, Insta or Xbox. However, our kids are getting a lot more face-to-face time with us and more books, more family movies and more family board games. We need to be supportive of their concerns. It’s best to not let them hear our worries or listen to the news all day. We may be struggling with our own day-to-day concerns and the worry of contracting COVID-19. The financial constraints we face at home may weigh heavily, but please let’s not forget about our children’s own mental health. The children and the youth in your lives may also be struggling or experiencing anxiety. They could use our support and may they want to access services such as Youth Mental Health Canada for additional support.
Let’s continue to be there for one another.
For my lawyer friends, please stay connected. If you have an opportunity, check out the Ontario Bar Association’s webcast, linked below.
Lawyers on Zoom Drinking Coffee
Related blog: COVID-19 and Your Employment
We’re always here if you have questions – reach out to Amanda Chapman.