7 Strategies for Fostering Employee Well-Being in the Face of Stressful World Events

In the tapestry of our lives, the threads of community and work are intricately woven together. However, when stressful world events become the warp and weft of our shared existence, the impact reverberates into the workplace, casting shadows on the well-being of employees.

These events, whether sparked by political unrest, civil unrest, or other societal challenges, cast a wide net of influence. External stressors can potentially infiltrate the sanctity of the workplace, affecting employees’ mental and emotional well-being.

It’s crucial to recognize the subtle ways stressful world events manifest. Whether through changes in behavior, altered dynamics, or heightened stress levels, the repercussions are palpable.

Impact of Stressful World Events


In the face of stressful world events, individuals often grapple with a spectrum of emotions. Expected responses include fear, anger, sadness or even numbness. Understanding these emotional responses is pivotal for employers seeking to create a supportive environment.


The toll of external stressors on an employee’s mental health can translate into diminished focus, reduced productivity, and an overall decline in job performance. Once a haven for productivity, the workplace can transform into a battlefield of internal struggles.


The intricate web of workplace relationships is not immune to the tremors of community strife. As stress levels rise, communication may falter, collaboration may suffer, and conflicts may emerge. Nurturing a healthy work environment becomes paramount to weather the storm.


In the wake of social unrest or community strife, concerns for personal safety can infiltrate the workplace. This heightened sense of vulnerability may impact the overall feeling of security, necessitating a proactive approach from organizational leaders.

Strategies for Addressing Stressful World Events

Leadership plays a pivotal role in navigating the impact of stressful world events on the workplace. Proactive communication, transparent leadership, and fostering a culture of empathy can create a sense of stability amidst uncertainty. Leaders should acknowledge the external challenges, offer reassurance, and provide avenues for employees to express their concerns.

Additionally, managers play a crucial role in identifying signs of distress and providing timely support. Empathy, active listening, and flexibility in work arrangements can go a long way in mitigating the adverse effects of external stressors on individual and team dynamics.

Here are seven strategies for fostering employee well-being in the face of stressful world events.

1. Be curious and aware of things that may be impacting people

In the face of stressful world events, fostering a workplace culture that encourages curiosity and awareness is paramount. Leaders should be attuned to the potential impact of external events on their team members. By actively seeking to understand individual perspectives and acknowledging the diversity of experiences, leaders can create an environment where employees feel seen and heard. This curiosity sets the stage for empathetic leadership and lays the foundation for effective support mechanisms.

2. Respond as soon as possible

Timely response is a linchpin in addressing the aftermath of stressful world events. Delays acknowledging the impact can exacerbate feelings of isolation and distress among employees. Swift communication, whether through company-wide messages or individual check-ins, demonstrates a commitment to the well-being of the workforce. A prompt response not only provides reassurance but also sets the tone for open dialogue, reinforcing the idea that the organization values the concerns and emotions of its employees.

3. Validate and normalize reactions

Recognizing and validating the emotional reactions to global challenges is instrumental in fostering a supportive workplace environment. Employees may express a range of feelings, from anxiety and fear to frustration and sadness. Leaders should resist the urge to try to solve or fix the employee’s challenges and instead acknowledge these emotions without judgment, emphasizing that diverse reactions are normal and acceptable. By normalizing these responses, the workplace becomes a space where individuals feel comfortable expressing themselves authentically, fostering a culture of understanding and empathy.

4. Prepare managers for conversation

Managers serve as the frontline support for employees, and preparing them for conversations surrounding stressful world events is crucial. Providing training on active listening, empathy, and effective communication equips managers to navigate these discussions with sensitivity. Empowering managers to address concerns, answer questions, and offer support positions them as empathetic leaders who can guide their teams through challenging times, reinforcing a sense of trust and connection within the organization.

Keep in mind that managers have their struggles and need support, too. Living in the middle can be challenging, balancing pressures from above and needs from below. Ensure they have an outlet of support to be their best for their people.

5. Review available support and resources for employees

An essential strategy involves conducting a comprehensive review of the available support systems within and outside the organization. Internally, ensuring that managers are well-prepared to offer support is fundamental. Additionally, companies should promote awareness of resources such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). Simultaneously, external partnerships with community resources can provide a broader support network. A holistic approach to employee well-being involves leveraging internal and external resources to address the multifaceted impact of global events.

6. Follow-up

Continued support is not a one-time effort but an ongoing commitment. Following up with employees after the initial response demonstrates a sustained dedication to their well-being. This can take the form of regular check-ins, surveys to gauge the effectiveness of implemented strategies, or additional resources as needed. A proactive approach to follow-up reinforces the organization’s commitment to its employees and ensures that support remains adaptable to evolving needs in the aftermath of stressful world events.

7. Provide Opportunities for Connection

Recognizing that we are inherently social beings, fostering opportunities for connection in the workplace becomes vital, especially in a tech-forward world where genuine human interactions can be scarce. Strong relationships at work contribute to job satisfaction and retention and play a pivotal role in navigating the challenges presented by stressful world events. Creating virtual and in-person forums for employees to come together, share experiences, and express their feelings reinforces a sense of camaraderie. Knowing that they are not alone in their sentiments contributes to a shared resilience, fostering healthier and happier lives for employees as they navigate the complexities of the world around them.

Fulfilling a resilient, compassionate, and supportive environment is critical as we navigate the intersection of stressful world events and workplace well-being. By acknowledging the impact of external stressors, implementing thoughtful interventions, and providing accessible resources, organizations can weather the storm and emerge stronger with a more united and resilient workforce. In this synergy of understanding and action, we can strive for harmony at the crossroads of community and work, ensuring the well-being of employees remains a priority even in tumultuous times.

Empower your organization to thrive amidst challenges – explore Guide+Thrive, a comprehensive and evidence-based mental health solution designed to empower your organization and your people while fostering a mentally thriving culture.

Request a Sales Consultation today!

Post Written by

Organizational Management Consultant

Paige is an Organizational Management Consultant at BHS. In her role, Paige serves as a senior clinical liaison providing BHS client companies with clinical consultation, guidance, and troubleshooting on high-risk, complex or problematic situations. Her areas of expertise include empathetic leadership, change management, transformation leadership, employee engagement, leadership development and coaching, and customer service.