How can you maintain a healthy workforce?

On May 4, 2021, the Greater Baltimore Committee hosted a discussion on Creating a Healthy Workforce and what employers can do to assist employees who may be struggling with mental illness, addiction, anxiety or depression.

Healthy Workforce panelistsPanelists Dr. Maria Mouratidis, Sheppard Pratt; Sam Bierman, Maryland Addiction Recovery Center; and Kristin Whiting-Davis, Kaiser Permanente, agreed that communication, flexibility and transparency are key in supporting employees.

Dr. Mouratidis said, “Recognize that people are the biggest resource of any organization.” She noted that offering employees choices and opportunities on tasks and deadlines may reduce burnout and improve retention.

Bierman advised, “Listen to staff to get a clear understanding of what’s important to them” and let employees know they are valued and cared for.

“There’s a lot of shifting that’s going to need to happen,” said Whiting-Davis. “There’s a hybrid that we’re all going to have to invest in.”

The panelists identified some ways to tell if employees are struggling:

  • Irritability/Change in behavior
  • Lack of motivation
  • Frequently absent or late

They also identified some activities that may reduce stress and anxiety:

  • Practice going out (safely)
  • Do activities you enjoy
  • Self-care/Mindfulness
  • Exercise
  • Acknowledge that it’s OK to not be OK

“We’ve all been through a very traumatic situation together. We all really need to bond together and be more compassionate,” said Bierman.

Dr. Mouratidis said the idea we can control everything is a useless effort. “Your power lies in the meaning you make of what happens.”

On lessons learned during the pandemic, the panelists emphasized the importance of slowing down, having face-to-face communication with loved ones and remembering there’s more than one way to move forward.

Resources and materials

Sheppard Pratt

Maryland Addiction Recovery Center

Kaiser Permanente