How can employers support their employees while the conflict in Ukraine continues

How can employers support their employees while the conflict in Ukraine continues

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been an extremely upsetting development, one that sparks sadness, fear, anxiety, helplessness – and has been affecting many families tremendously. As the fighting continues, people have become increasingly concerned that this fight will increase to a global scale, and how much uncertainty a nuclear war holds is terrifying.

As an employer, it is one of your responsibilities to make sure your employees feel supported and safe at the workplace. Some employees are more impacted than others – many with family and friends in direct line of this brutality, and others who feel afraid or anxious about how uncontrollable this conflict has become. This issue can make people feel like their life can change at any instant.

What can employers do?

This is an anxiety that employers cannot fix, but there are opportunities to reduce this stress and lend a hand where possible. To begin, employers can provide websites or articles to inform employees on the issue and provide a method for lending support to the Ukrainians. But there are more options that can provide consistent support in the workplace.

Employers can start a discussion with employees and demonstrate that their workplace is a safe space to have open conversations. Employers can engage by making a statement to all their employees and providing a platform. Even if no one uses it, employees know it is there if they need it.

Providing empathy to the employees who are affected the most can be important for demonstrating greater awareness. Employers can offer health and wellness programs, therapy, rest days – anything that is reasonable for the employer that could make an employee feel morally supported. Further, employers can also educate their employees on how to recognize if one of their colleagues is suffering and how they can choose to respond.

Employers should encourage all employees to engage in mental health and wellness programs. If the employer already has a health and wellness program in place, they should encourage employees to take advantage of these supports. If an employer does not have this kind of program, they can help educate employees on how they could be impacted from this crisis, and how they can actionably reduce these stressors. They can also direct them to help that is available in the community.

Lastly, encourage your employees to stay informed, but not over-immerse themselves in social news about the conflict. For example, on social media employees could get caught up watching one video after another, which is not good for their mental health. This day and age, it is not just televised news that can inform us. Many of us collect information from our cellphones and our social media pages that can lead to reading misinformation or getting too engrossed in an issue. Employees can get exposed to speculation which can start to become a dark and tangled web of “what ifs”.

If you are an employer that requires help issuing a statement or establishing a health and wellness program, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.