Coping with workplace changes

If you are in distress, please contact your Employee Assistance Program or Crisis Services Canada. If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency department.

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Caring for your well-being

Good mental health is central to personal and organizational performance.

As the workplace changes, how do we adapt while maintaining our well-being?

Below are tips to help you care for your mental health to better cope with changes in the workplace.

Maintain self-awareness

Workplace changes can lead to stress and anxiety. How we choose to respond to changes will impact our personal well-being.

  • Have self-compassion. For some of you, after working from home through most of the pandemic, some may experience nervousness or a reluctance to return to the workplace. Be patient and accepting with yourself. Change can be uncomfortable and you’re not alone.
  • Focus on what brings you gratitude. As with any change, take time to appreciate what is going well and what you are grateful for every day.
  • Know that your feelings are valid. When we manage our emotions, listen to our bodies, and make time for ourselves, our mental and physical health improves, resulting in enhanced resiliency in times of change.
  • Learn and respect boundaries. Everyone has different comfort levels with working in a hybrid model. Get to know your own emotional, mental and physical boundaries. Communicate them respectfully and clearly to your teammates and colleagues.

Stay connected

As employees adjust to working in a hybrid model, it is essential to stay connected and to communicate often.

  • Share your experiences. Each employee may have different needs and face a unique set of challenges. Taking the time to share your experiences with your colleagues and listening to theirs increases support and makes way for a compassionate workplace.
  • Stay social. Plan regular social interactions with colleagues, either in-person or online, while ensuring an inclusive approach regardless of location of work.

Preparing mentally for working in a hybrid model

As the federal public service has adopted a common hybrid work model, the Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace has gathered resources from trusted sources to help support psychologically healthier and safer workplace transitions.

Whether your work unit is full-time in the workplace or in a hybrid work model, executives, managers, supervisors and employees at all levels can benefit from the mental health resources, tips and tools listed below.

Embrace rather than resist change

The workplace is not only about where we work, but how we work.

  • Make use of the tools. Make the effort to continue using video calls and other ways to ensure that all colleagues feel included, regardless of location. Take advantage of training available to you, such as the M365 Tools training to keep your skills up to date.
  • Maintain a flexible routine. While flexibility is an essential part of the workplace, it’s important to establish a routine regardless of where you work. Clearly communicate your routine to your colleagues when operations may be impacted.

Tips to Take Care of Your Mental Health

  • Get information from reliable sources, such as
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep.
  • Stay connected. Talk to friends or family about your feelings and concerns.
  • Maintain healthy relationships and respect other people’s feelings and decisions.
  • Show support and empathy to those dealing with difficult situations.
  • Identify what is within your control and try to direct your energy towards what most worries you within your own control.

Toolkits, e-courses and resources for leaders

Mental Health Commission of Canada

A toolkit that offers managers a range of practical strategies to support mental health and well-being for their onsite and remote teams — and for themselves. The toolkit is a helpful starting point for creating and cultivating a mental health-first workplace by fostering collaborative solutions to the unique challenges of hybrid workplaces.

Canada School of Public Service

Health Canada

  • Specialized Organizational Services (SOS)
    From change management and team building workshops to conflict management coaching, from standby onsite specialized counselling support to workplace psychosocial health assessments, SOS provides and delivers a range of psychosocial services to strengthen employee wellness, team effectiveness and organizational health, including supports for return to worksites. Available to managers and their teams in all government organizations on a cost-recovery basis.
  • Advisory Services, Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
    Health Canada’s EAP advisory services are available to managers or supervisors who may be dealing with difficult situations at work, including related to dealing with employee concerns about the return to the workplace. If you are unsure who the EAP service provider for your federal organization is, please visit the Employee Assistance Program online directory for more information.
  • LifeSpeak Digital Platform
    LifeSpeak, available to most federal organizations whose EAP services are provided by Health Canada, offers a number of resources on returning to worksites and hybrid working, including a video series on Making Flexible and Remote Working a Success and expert blogs on relevant topics such as:
    • Navigating the Hybrid Work Model
    • Supporting Your Employees without Neglecting Your Mental Health
    • The Long-term Impact of Burnout on Company Success (for employers)

Check your organizational intranet for LifeSpeak access and login information if available to you.

Workplace Strategies for Mental Health

  • Team building: Hybrid teams
    Learn how to balance and effectively support the success of both employees working on-site and those teleworking.
  • Helping employees to manage change
    Organizational change may have an unsettling impact on employees, but you can help through thoughtful planning, effective communication, and engaging employees in exploring how changes can be handled in a psychologically safe way.
  • Psychologically safe communication and collaboration
    A collection of actions and resources for leaders to improve communication and collaboration, and learn how to support each employee’s success.
  • Identifying employee issues for leaders
    Support psychological safety by approaching workplace issues in terms of collaborating on solutions instead of focusing on problems.
  • Communicating with emotional employees
    A toolkit of communication strategies and techniques that enable you to have supportive conversations with employees and help avoid triggering negative reactions. An additional resource you may find beneficial is the Supportive conversation library to address a wide range of workplace situations.

Executives, managers and supervisors are also encouraged to familiarize themselves with the resources listed in the next section, both for themselves and for sharing with employees and teammates as needed.

Tips, tools and supports for employees at all levels

Anxiety Canada

  • My Anxiety Plan for Adults
    Free anxiety management program based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, with practical strategies and tools to manage anxiety.

Canada School of Public Service

  • Mental Health Learning Series
    From job aids to videos to online courses to resources and services, access a complete learning catalogue for workplace mental health.

Health Canada

  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
    You and your immediate family members have access to free confidential, short-term or crisis counselling and referral services, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers services by phone, in person and through e-counselling. You can ask for a referral to a mental health professional with cultural competence and experience supporting a specific community or equity-deserving group. If you are unsure who is the EAP service provider for your federal organization, please visit the Employee Assistance Program online directory or your organizational intranet for more information.
  • LifeSpeak Digital Platform
    LifeSpeak, available to most federal organizations whose EAP services are provided by Health Canada, offers a number of resources on returning to worksites and hybrid working, including a video series on Making Flexible and Remote Working a Success and expert blogs on relevant topics such as:
    • Navigating the Hybrid Work Model
    • How Fluctuating Work Schedules Can Cause Sleep Issues
    • After COVID isolation: a roadmap to navigating the new normal

Check your organizational intranet for LifeSpeak access and login information if available to you.

  • Wellness Together Canada
    This online mental health and substance use support portal is open to all Canadians and includes tools such as mental health assessments, mindfulness, peer support and internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) resources.

Workplace Strategies for Mental Health

  • Listen to understand
    Listening for understanding tips and strategies that can help when you’re listening to someone who’s emotionally distressed.
  • Helping troubled co-workers
    Learn how to help co-workers who are struggling with mental health issues, including steps to help you intervene while protecting your own well-being.
  • Preparing for a difficult conversation
    A list of questions to help you reflect before you begin a difficult conversation, thinking about your own mindset, your intended outcome and potential consequences from the conversation.
  • Work-life balance tips
    Tips, tools and strategies to help achieve good work-life balance, reduce the stress in your life and support your resilience.

Additional resources

Mental health in the workplace is a shared employer-employee responsibility. From looking after our own mental health to preventing psychological harm at work, both individuals and organizations have a role to play.

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