The word pandemic is frightening enough to make people feel anxious. One can only imagine how they feel living through one.
Everyone’s life turned upside-down the last year as they were forced to isolate themselves in their houses to slow down the spread of the virus. Companies closed their offices and asked their employees to work from home.
Schools shut down, and parents had to figure out how they can educate their children at home. People around the world locked their doors and done their best to stay healthy and safe. And while social distancing limited the spread of the coronavirus, people’s mental health was damaged. Isolation triggers loneliness and stress.
Uncertainty causes anxiety, and even with the vaccine available, people are living in uncertain times. Between the questions about whether or not to reopen businesses and the economic fallout of the health crisis, no one can say what will come next. Everything takes a toll on their mental health.
A study found out that 42% of people think their mental health declined since the pandemic began. Prior to the virus outbreak, many organizations increased their focus on workplace mental health, and now the efforts are imperative considering that more people struggle with PTSD, depression, anxiety, trauma, or burnout.
Mental health experiences differ according to citizenship status, race, job type, economic opportunities, and other factors. So, what can companies do to improve mental health in the workplace?
Make Mental Health A Priority For Their Organization
To let your employees know that mental health is a priority for you and create awareness around the subject, you must explain how you want to support mental health.
In normal circumstances, work can have a positive effect on mental health; however, in the present conditions, the challenging work environment can trigger mental and physical health issues.
It’s crucial to develop an open environment about mental health to give your employees a safe space where they can discuss their struggles openly. Education is essential because if you educate your team, you can help them feel comfortable talking openly about this subject.
For example, EY developed the “r u ok?” program that offers their employees 24/7 counseling sessions and encourages them to talk about the challenges they experience.
Find Ways To Combat Loneliness
A survey reveals that over 45% of people working remotely deal with loneliness. Why? Before the pandemic, they spent their days socializing with their co-workers, but they are lonelier, especially those living alone because now they have to work from home.
Most companies are using chat tools like Skype and Zoom to conduct meetings, but they don’t replace face-to-face interactions. It would be helpful if companies used these tools to sponsor ways for employees to socialize beyond the mandatory meetings.
A couple of ideas can include
– virtual coffee breaks where more employees take a break from their work to sip some coffee, discuss a work-unrelated subject, and interact with each other on another level,
– non-work slack channels where they share pictures of their pets, children, talk about their hobbies and anything they’re passionate about,
– start a club relying on the team’s interests. Some companies use Facebook live to host real-time events for employees to engage in conversations and activities.
Encourage A Healthy Work-Life Balance
All companies say they support a healthy work-life balance, but in reality, employees must complete huge amounts of tasks and are pressured into working late hours.
If you want to improve your employees’ mental health, you should ensure that they work in a healthy environment and actively care for their well-being.
One way to encourage employees to care for themselves is to provide them with enough breaks during the day. Use a system that notifies them to unplug from their tasks and take a break. More breaks reduce stress and prevent burnout.
Here are some other ideas on how you can allow a healthy work-life balance:
– Allow flexible work hours because not all people are productive at the same hours. Let your employees decide when they find it best to work.
– Offer mental health days when they can leave to care for their well-being.
– Encourage them to use natural products like CBD delta 8 carts to alleviate their stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. By normalizing the use of natural products in the workplace, you encourage your employees to care for their mental health and seek ways to improve it.
Provide Them With Access To A Physical Wellness Program
Physical fitness impacts people’s productivity, lowers the rate of absenteeism and improves mental health. Exercise positively affects physical and mental health and alleviates issues like anxiety, stress, and depression.
Counselors and therapists recommend exercising as a way to relieve stress, boost energy levels, and improve concentration.
Mental health and physical health are connected, and if you want to help your employees improve their mental health, you should encourage them to be more physically active.
Here are some ways to help your workers be more active:
– Offer access to a fitness program or gym as part of your benefits package. Some companies collaborate with fitness centers to provide their employees with free access to training classes and personal training.
– Organize team-building activities that challenge your employees to be active. You can tailor events that get your employees outdoors, like cycling together in the countryside, hiking, swimming, or other fun activities that require them to go outside, soak in the sun, and drink plenty of water.
– Offer relaxation opportunities in the form of meditation or exercise breaks. Create a special space where your employees have access to fitness equipment, foam mattresses, scented candles, and meditation apps they can use to detach from their work and focus on their physical and mental well-being.
Employee Mental Health is More Important Than Ever
Studies show that around 80% of people are worried about the long-term effects of the pandemic. There is a lot of uncertainty that affects everyone, and anxiety is a natural response in these conditions.
Organizations can prevent a mental health crisis if they find ways to handle mental health issues in advance and support their employees in seeking help.
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