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January 9, 2023

Seven Tips for a Mental Health Reset

5 Minutes
Stephen Massey

The new year is an ideal time for a mental reset.

And no sector of the workforce may be more in need of one than retail and frontline workers.

Three in four retail employees report work-related stress during the holidays. Long hours, limited or no time off, mandatory overtime and working face-to-face with customers in the middle of peak flu season are all possible stressors—and your teams need to recover.

Here are 7 tips to help hourly and retail workers start the new year mentally fresh.

  1. Check in. Even if you think you know how your people are doing, ask anyway. It will normalize talking about and paying attention to mental health. Revisit the signs of burnout.
  2. Offer time to recharge. Just like the rest of us, seasonal hourly and retail workers need time off to recover, not only for their health but for their productivity. definitely help, but the effect is short-lived if you don’t address underlying causes of burnout. Along with time off, try to incorporate more short breaks into the work day to improve health and productivity.
  3. Set schedules well in advance. Consider crafting hourly workers’ schedules for February right now to allow you to accommodate recharge-day requests. For workers who have minimal control over their work environment, input and advance notice of their schedule provides some sense of autonomy and routine, both of which can reduce the stress of uncertainty and improve job satisfaction.
  4. Explore now how to make the 2023 holidays easier. Ask your teams what they need and how you can work together to reduce workplace stress. Report back to your teams on what you’ve heard and explain what you’re able to achieve.
  5. Commit to making the other 11 months better. Involve your team in building a supportive culture. Get their ideas for how to make check-ins a recurring feature of your workplace and how to address causes of stress. Embrace strategies to create a healthy culture of belonging. Or consider launching a mental health employee resource group.
  6. Show your appreciation. Regularly recognizing employees has been shown to be just as important to workers as additional mental health resources.
  7. Connect workers to care. Recognize that the problems may go deeper than burnout. Nearly half of workers of color and people with disabilities—both of whom are over-represented in low-wage jobs—say their mental health is getting in the way of everyday activities. Digital solutions such as text message-based therapy can help accommodate these workers’ schedules and the stigma often found in their communities. If that benefit is already part of your employee assistance program offering, publicize it across channels that will reach your hourly workers. And if it’s not, consider whether it’s a benefit your company can provide.