The impact of COVID-19 and life in a pandemic has affected many people’s mental health and well-being. With an increase in anxiety and depression symptoms tripling from 2019 to 2020, these mental health struggles have not just affected our personal lives but our work life as well.
A reported 51% of people said their mental health was worse at work since COVID-19 started. It’s especially affecting the younger generations, according to a report by the CDC, 75% of 18-to-24 year old respondents reported having at least one adverse mental or behavioral health symptom. From an economic standpoint, effects of poor mental health can be fiscally devastating due to the loss of productivity.
In total, about one-third of workers said they were having difficulties working at their typical level of productivity due to their current state of mental health. Employees report many factors that have impacted their mental health. Motivation at work, team morale, productivity at work, stress at work, and work/life balance were among some that were listed.
More than half of respondents said they felt uncomfortable talking to their managers and supervisors about their mental health. One of the reasons employees don’t feel comfortable talking to colleagues about their mental health is that 30% of them are fearful that disclosure of mental health could lead to being fired or furloughed.
53% of respondents said their workplace expressed only slight or no concern about mental health during COVID-19. It’s important for employers to be proactive and take early action when it comes to their employee’s health. Some steps employers can take include the following.
The first step is to reduce the stigma and judgement about speaking candidly about mental health. Lead by example and express what you’re going through. A majority of people do not feel comfortable talking about their mental health in the workplace so taking that first step can be a helpful barrier to break down.
Have wellness and health packages that emphasize and cover mental health. If you are proactive and create packages that focus on mental health, people will see that you are there to support them with their mental health needs.
Other ways you can help is by getting trained in mental health first aid to recognize mental health symptoms and by making mental health self-assessment tools and materials readily available. Identifying symptoms and the root of mental health problems can be a great start to getting help.
Creating designated office quiet zones and de-stressing areas can promote mindfulness and mediation. These areas can be a safe space to relax and release any stress and anxiety that may have risen from work related issues.
Being adaptable with flexible work hours, remote working, and increased time off show that the employer cares more about their employees well-being and health more than their job performance. It shows where your priorities are.
Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about what you can do to help the employees at your company.