August 6, 2020
How to keep school employees healthy this fall
Going back to school is always busy and stressful, but the pandemic has made that especially true this year.
In the midst of continuous uncertainty and change, you can support your staff and faculty by giving them tools to stay healthy – both mentally and physically – during these trying times.
Tips to support mental health
The following are tips you can share with your employees to help them maintain emotional and mental health:
- Set boundaries and take breaks.
Whether you find yourself working at school or home, set regular work hours for yourself and stick to them. When working from home, limit work to a single room if possible. Take breaks to rest, eat and move around throughout the day. Take time off when you need to.
- Make time to do things you enjoy and unwind.
Whether it’s a bike ride, walk in nature, hobby, or watching your favorite television show, carve time out of your day to unwind and do something you enjoy.
- Maintain your relationships.
Even though it’s harder to see friends, family and even colleagues these days, it’s still important to maintain those relationships. Make phone calls, set up virtual gatherings, or find other safe ways to connect.
- Practice mindfulness and gratitude.
Focusing on what you’re grateful for and meditating can put you in a positive mindset that will increase your resilience in the face of challenges. Consider starting a gratitude journal if you don’t already have one. If you’d like to try meditating, there are many podcasts and apps available to help you get started.
If your district offers an employee assistance program (EAP), this is a good time to remind school employees of this and any other mental health resources that may be available to them.
It’s also important to be especially understanding and aware of your employees’ mental health during this time.
Here are a few more resources that may be helpful to you as you think about ways to support employees’ mental health:
- Don’t overlook depression and anxiety in the workplace
- How to add mindfulness to your workplace wellness program
Working comfortably at home and school
Whether employees are working from home, school or elsewhere, it’s important they pay attention to the ergonomics of their workspace.
Working hunched over a laptop for hours on end is a recipe for pain and strain.
You can provide your employees with our Ergonomic Workstation Education handout as a guide to help them adjust their workspace to a comfortable setup.
Our blog post on ergonomic and safety tips when working from home also contains some helpful tips, including:
- Find a chair that supports your back and positions you with at least a 90 degree angle at your hips.
- When using a laptop for long periods of time, hook it up to an external keyboard, mouse and monitor to maintain a neutral head/neck and hand/wrist posture.
- Take breaks often to move and stretch. See our stretching poster for ideas.
Resources to help you navigate COVID-19
SFM has compiled a variety of resources for employers on its COVID-19 page.
Visit the page to find printable posters, a mask comparison chart, workers’ compensation legal information related to the pandemic, and more.
Be sure to download our new printable mask poster just for schools!