The year 2020 has thrown many curveballs at employers and employees alike. Amidst a global pandemic that upended the way we work and social campaigns such as Black Lives Matter that has taken a big emotional toll, we are now just days away from a monumental presidential election in the United States. 

It is no surprise that leaders are starting to think about how to address election anxiety both before and after the election. Right now, managers at all levels have an opportunity to address this anxiety amongst their employees in several ways. Here is our guidance on making sure your approach is inclusive and reaches all employees regardless of politics: 

  • Give people explicit permission to take part in the election – Review your time off policy for voting and be sure to communicate it to employees formally. If your current policy is too restrictive, consider revising to make it easier for employees to vote. If you have been informally communicating that employees have as much flexibility as they need, make it formal. This will help prevent any apprehension on the part of team members. View our Compliance team’s blog on the time-off requirements in CA and NY for voting.
  • Avoid scheduling critical meetings and deadlines on, and the day after, election day – This gives the option for employees to avoid feeling guilty for taking part in the election or for taking some time off for self-care. It also sends the message to employees that everyone is in this together. 
  • Give employees the space to talk about their anxiety – Managers are in a unique position to initiate and normalize conversations around the upcoming election. By acknowledging that the political climate may make it hard to focus or stay positive, they are communicating to employees that they are not alone.  
    • Tips to stay apolitical during these conversations: Keep the conversation focused on mental wellbeing and the stress the election may be causing, and be sure managers are equipped to speak about the resources available to employees.
  • Communicate the mental wellbeing resources available to employees and communicate again! - This is a time when over-communication is a good thing. Constantly remind employees about the resources they have available to them for support during this time and how to access those benefits. For Sequoia clients, visit your HRX Newsfeed and search, “Election”, to view all of the resources that might be available to your employees. 

Disclaimer: This content is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, medical or tax advice. It provides general information and is not intended to encompass all compliance and legal obligations that may be applicable. This information and any questions as to your specific circumstances should be reviewed with your respective legal counsel and/or tax advisor as we do not provide legal or tax advice. © 2020 Sequoia Benefits & Insurance Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Shannon Arens – Shannon is a Wellbeing Consultant at Sequoia. She partners closely with Enterprise clients to assess, develop, and recommend a holistic wellbeing strategy designed to the meet the diverse needs of employees. Outside of work, Shannon enjoys spending time with her two children, going for a run, or relaxing in her backyard.