The coronavirus pandemic has affected us all in many ways. People have lost loved ones, lost their sources of income, or even have symptoms of COVID-19 or long-term COVID. Those who cannot be directly affected by these situations may find it difficult to deal with the social isolation և COVID-19 restrictions. These and many other COVID-19 disorders cause a mental health crisis that threatens the workplace.
Mental health problems were a silent killer in the workplace long before the coronavirus epidemic. Workers have long complained of anxiety, depression, other mental health problems, poor working conditions, burns, and physical health problems. This kills employee productivity, company profits, and mental health must come first. The prevalence of mental health problems in the workplace has changed slightly in recent decades. However, the trend skyrocketed as COVID-19 hit many countries.
Since March 2020, the prevalence of anxiety and depression has more than doubled in previous years. The prevalence of depression in the United States will increase from about 8.8 percent to 23.5 percent by 2020. The prevalence of anxiety among Americans also increased from 8.2 percent to about 30 percent.
Due to ongoing waves of social isolation և COVID-19 restrictions, these mental health problems later led to a sharp rise in the level of alcohol and drug abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of June 2020, 13 percent of Americans reported starting or increasing their use of alcohol as a means of counteracting the stress of the epidemic. This exacerbated the opioid crisis in the country, when the American Medical Association reported an increase in opioid deaths in more than 40 US states.
These horrific statistics are due to COVID-19 failures in how we live and work. Workplace disruptions, including pay cuts, vacations, unorganized workloads, inadequate long-distance work support, and workloads have severely damaged employees’ mental well-being, threatening their health and workplace productivity.
Mental health problems are the main cause of absence, presence, and in turn, loss of productivity. First, COVID estimates that more than half of all lost workdays a year are related to stress, which costs more than $ 84 billion a year. According to the World Health Organization, depression and anxiety cost the world economy more than $ 1 trillion a year.
What many employers may not be aware of is that a mental health crisis in the workplace creates a vicious cycle, causing physical health problems for the individual, which in turn reduces performance and increases the employer’s health care costs.
Mental health has been an undisputed aspect of employee health; it is largely underrepresented in the workplace. Employees who suffer from mental health problems often face stigma և not receiving enough support to improve their well-being. However, due to the burden of mental health problems among employees and its potential impact on their overall well-being, employers should prioritize the mental health of employees in the post-epidemic organization.
The main driver of the great resignation that shook corporate America is the lack of a common workplace culture, one of which is poor employee health support. Employers need to pay more attention to their employees’ personal health և work needs in order to develop a work culture that promotes employee well-being.
One of the most effective strategies for increasing mental health support in the workplace is to eliminate mental health problems. Mental health problems in the workplace may not improve if the solutions to these problems are closed. Your organization needs to break with the traditional layered leadership approach to these issues և Create a feedback culture model that allows employees to freely share their concerns and needs with managers:.
This ongoing channel of feedback helps HR managers և controllers detect և solve mental health problems early.
Moreover, the transformation of workplace culture involves the transformation of work requirements և structures based on employee needs. Common work models և policies keep employees in the roles և in positions for which they are poorly prepared, leaving them mentally և physically exhausted: ineffective. Employers can alleviate this by involving employees in internal initiatives and policy development. Make a preliminary assessment to determine who works best for whom.
Give some flexibility to your workforce և Allow employees to have some control over their work. For example, not everyone works effectively from home և Remote work can cause some potentially more work-related stress for some employees. Therefore, running a telecommuting model for all employees may be counterproductive.
Find out which work structure works best for each employee և Use this data to build your work structure. If the employee is assigned to a new project or client, provide the necessary training, resources և support to ensure that they solve the task effectively. For remote workers, poor access to the right technologies ուրս resources և poor communication can exacerbate work stress և stifle their mental well-being.
Reorganizing your workplace culture also means building a more inclusive, diverse workplace. Employers may not understand how discrimination based on gender, race, sexual orientation or religion affects the mental well-being of employees և, in turn, productivity. Are employees of different sexual orientations treated differently from others? Your C-suite is mainly for a certain gender.
Incorporating diversity into your workplace policy, including recruitment processes, appraisal և performance management, shows all employees that you value them for their contribution, regardless of their social inclinations. This greatly contributes to improving the mental well-being of employees.
Moreover, in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic, employees are anxious to return to the office. Tensions are higher և Employees want some employers to be able to protect their health when they return to work. Inadequate COVID-19 coping strategies in the workplace can cause employees to worry about their health, reducing their attention and focus in the workplace.
While Employee Support Programs are responsible for providing employees with access to health care resources and resources, employees with mental health problems have generally been disadvantaged in more than one way. Even at the beginning of the epidemic, many workers reported not receiving mental health offers in their workplaces. To improve the mental health and well-being of employees after the epidemic, companies need to review the roles of their employee support programs.
Employees, therefore, need these mental health programs now more than ever. The main approach that many employers take is to offer virtual mental health programs. Easy access to counseling, psychotherapy, and mental health care, such as online mental classes and yoga exercises, are very important as many organizations have adopted hybrid or distance work.
One organization in this field is World Health Accreditation. Global Healthcare Accreditation’s new organizational accreditation actually recognizes employers who prioritize mental health as mental health is one of the cornerstones of the new GHA Business Accreditation. (link to GHA): Employers who prioritize mental health և employee well-being can digitally apply for accreditation և be recognized by their employees համար for everything they have done for them over the past year.
Solving the burden of mental health problems in the workplace
The epidemic has exposed the burden of mental health problems in the workplace and the shortcomings of corporate health programs. Mental health problems are one of the leading causes of loss of productivity in the workplace, as the epidemic severely damages the mental health of workers, employers must take active steps to change the workplace culture to create a healthy workforce.