What Has Covid-19 Taught Us About Supporting Workforce Mental Health And Wellbeing



The Covid-19 has had a big impact on the way that people live and work. To stop the spread, remote working has become a common occurrence. Some businesses have been shut down entirely. During this time, many employers have become concerned about the impacts of these changes on their employee’s mental health. Let’s look at some of the things that can be learned about this situation, so you’ll be able to create a more supportive work environment in the future.


How Has COVID-19 Affected Mental Health And Wellbeing?


The global pandemic, and the government actions taken to control it, have had a profound impact on mental health. For example, according to recent studies, 69 percent of adults report feeling more stressed and uncertain about their future. This is especially prevalent amongst people who have had their businesses shut down or had their positions terminated.

Another important mental health change has been the rise in stress and depression. This saw a huge rise when the lockdowns were announced, with 38 percent of people reporting feeling depressed. The isolation associated with this time has had a particularly strong impact on teens and children, as they won’t be able to see their friends regularly.


Wellbeing has also been significantly affected during the lockdown period. According to a study by Simetrica-Jacobs and the London School of Economics and Political Science, there have been several concerning wellbeing consequences of the lockdown. First, they found that life satisfaction had fallen since the start of the lockdown. The biggest drops in life satisfaction were associated with those who needed to close their business. They also found that 66 percent of people were experiencing daily anxiety as a result of the pandemic. Now that we have a better idea of some of the mental health and wellbeing consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, let’s take a closer look at what they can teach us about how to improve support in the workplace.


Have An Emergency Plan


As we mentioned, Covid-19 has resulted in a huge increase in the number of people who are feeling stressed. In most cases, this is related to the uncertainty caused by this unprecedented event. This has also highlighted the importance of having an emergency plan for businesses. This ensures that you will have a better idea about how to react to these unprecedented events. This will allow you to tell employees what they can expect. While they might not like the changes, at least they know what to expect. This will allow them to better adjust their life to address the changed conditions.


Communication Style Matters


Another important learning is that the style of communication that you use is very important. During a situation like this, it’s more important than ever to make sure that employees are understanding what you’re telling them. This can help ease the anxiety associated with this pandemic event. To do this, there are a few things that you might want to focus on. First, it’s important to keep the messages clear. If you provide too much information, people can easily get overwhelmed, adding to the anxiety they experience. It’s also vital that you make yourself available to answer any questions. For larger businesses, this can mean establishing a hotline to answer employee queries.


It’s Important To Be Flexible


Covid-19 has forced many employers to consider more flexible working arrangements. In some cases, they have needed to re-organise the existing workplace. In other cases, they have needed to shift to employing virtual workers. For some people, this time has been a big challenge, resulting in a drop in productivity. For others, though, working from home has been a pleasant experience. They like being in familiar surroundings, which makes them feel more comfortable. For others, there are more practical benefits, like saving on transport costs. As a result, some estimates say that 90 percent of office workers might want to continue working from home, at least some of the time after the lockdown ends. If employers can brace this new form of working, they might be able to improve the wellbeing of their workforce. As a result, moving forward, it might be best to investigate how these flexible arrangements could work in the long-term.


Foster Healthy Workplace Relations


This pandemic has also shown the importance of building strong workplace relationships. During the lockdown, talking to colleagues has been a valuable coping mechanism for many people. As a result, many businesses have started virtual chatrooms. They have also created video-chat functions, so employees can still enjoy taking a tea break together. When the lockdown period ends, you might want to focus on running more team-building activities. This can be a great way to help build healthy relationships. You might also want to set up a lunchroom or shared kitchen. This will encourage discussion during work breaks.


Mental Health Resources Should Be Available


Finally, mental health is very important for employers to consider. It can have a big impact on how health and productive employees are. As a result, many businesses might start to place a greater focus on this area. For example, you might want to offer resources to help them improve their mental health. This can include paid time to talk to a mental health practitioner so they can overcome any issues they face. Alternatively, you can offer a subscription to apps that promote mental health. Often, knowing that these resources are available if they are ever needed can be a great way to improve wellbeing in the workplace.


Conclusion


Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the way that we live and work. For many businesses, the pandemic will have a lasting impact, forever changing practices. As we’ve seen, there are several things that the health crisis has taught employers. From the benefits of flexible working to the importance of clear communication, there are plenty of ways that businesses can change in the future. This should improve productivity while supporting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

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