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Mental Wellness – How well is your business doing?

Coping with the effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic and other workplace stress requires more than a Covid-19 test and a motivational talk.

Mental Health Matters

Whether in the workplace or working from home, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we work. Emotions such as, anxiety, fear and depression have come to the forefront since the pandemic has hit our daily lives.

Coping with overwhelming emotions and dealing with workplace stress brought about by uncertainties can lead to burnout. Burnout is a physical, emotional or mental exhaustion and is usually accompanied by decreased motivation and lower performance. It often manifests itself in negative attitudes toward oneself or others. (American Psychology Association, 2020)

Common symptoms of stress in the workplace

Stress indicators evident in employees can include:

  • Irritability or anger
  • Feeling anxious or nervous
  • A lack of motivation and drive
  • Negativity
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed or tired
  • Depression or sadness

How one copes with these emotions can affect one’s wellbeing on a personal level, in the workplace and in the community at large. In such times and with unpredictable effects of a worldwide pandemic present, wellness programmes should be an integral part of all workplaces. Looking after an employee’s wellness is not a burden, rather, organizations should consider it an investment – an investment into a healthier, happier workforce which ultimately translates into a more productive and successful workforce.

How the Pandemic is affecting stress in the workplace

There are many pandemic-specific factors that contribute to stress in the workplace – these added factors can place an enormous amount of pressure on the employee and on organizations as a whole. South Africa has experienced a rollercoaster of events, what with a third wave having hit the nation and not one, not two, but three variants of the Covid-19 virus emerging within a year – the third Delta variant dominating headlines of late.

Common work-related concerns for employees that further induce stress include:

  • Concerns about the risk of being exposed to the virus
  • Attempting to balance home life pressures related to the virus with responsibilities of the workplace.
  • Uncertainty about the future of one’s employment
  • Adapting to different working conditions and in some cases,
  • Feelings of guilt for not being able to work on the front-line.

What methods are there to address workplace stress for employees?

Many organizations are becoming internally customer-centric, that is, they have identified the need to address employee needs as much as they strive to meet their customer’s needs, after all, happy and balanced employees are able to position themselves to solve customers’ needs better than those who are far more distracted and concerned with unaddressed problems.

Mental wellness, or mindfulness programmes involve the use of qualified professionals that assist employees in a controlled environment to coach them to manage stress and pressure resulting from stressors brought on by, not only the pandemic, but the workplace and their personal lives too.

Three components that are generally addressed are:

  • Cognitive health – Addressing and managing one’s thought processes relative to current situational factors influencing those thoughts.
  • Emotional health – emotions drive our motivations to seek meaningful experiences and interactions. Addressing one’s emotions to attain emotional maturity reflects how employees respond emotionally to situational factors both in the workplace and in their home life.
  • Behavioural health – addresses the engagement factor with one’s environment. How an employee interacts with the environment they are in, and their perception of fitting in with the communities they are part of.

Mindfullness, is a practice, however professional and knowledgeable guidance is required to set employees on the right path. Just like any sport, the more it is practiced, the better one achieves, but no sportsman can master their discipline without professional guidance. Mental wellness is based on the same principle – employees can master mindfulness, but without guidance and coaching, the road to mastery is a long and frustrating one.

Would a mental wellness program be beneficial to your workforce? Absolutely! Management of a workforce to be effective is challenging, and use of wellness programmes are known to improve employee productivity, decrease absenteeism and provide a workplace where employees are happier, healthier and dedicated to aligning themselves with the organization’s visions and goals.

Care Net Consultants would like to hear from you – would you care to participate in this short survey surrounding your thoughts on mental wellness in the workplace? The survey will only take you four minutes to complete and we would appreciate your opinion. You can access our survey below.

References:

American Psycholgical Association. ‘Burnou’”, Citation. APA Dictionary of Psychology. Accessed June 25, 2021. <https://dictionary.apa.org/burnout>

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020. ‘Employees: How to Cope with Job Stress and Build Resiliance During the Covid-19 Pandemic’. Center for Disease Contol and Prevention. Accessed: 27th June 2021. <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/mental-health-non-healthcare.html>

Great Lakes Psychology Group, 2021. ‘3 Components of Mental Health’. Great Lakes Psychology Group. Accessed: 27th June 2021. <https://www.greatlakespsychologygroup.com/blog/3-components-of-mental-health>

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