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Mental health: the workplace and the pandemic

Mental health

The pandemic has worsened many workers’ mental health. With employment rates dropping and many people working from home, feelings of anxiety and depression have risen. Indeed, research from the RSPH found that 58 percent of women and 39 percent of men found themselves feeling isolated whilst working from home. Below, we explore this situation.

Furlough and mental health

One in three eligible employments were supported by the furlough scheme, saving millions of jobs – but what impact did furloughing have on mental health? In a survey completed by professional booklet makers, instantprint, 37 percent of respondents were furloughed. From this group, just 11 percent would describe themselves as happy, while 13 percent were relaxed. Instead, 20 percent felt anxious, 11 percent frustrated and four percent angry. Indeed, a sizeable group of those on furlough clearly found their new normal difficult. 

What can employers do?

Your mental well-being affects your performance at work. However, employers do have options to help support their staff during this period.

Check-in with people

One option for employers is to check in on people. By simply making employees feel involved and cared about, they can feel more included and secure within the company. 

Collaborate

Collaborating virtually can also help you overcome the physical distance. By taking advantage of platforms such as MS Teams, you’ll be able to make the business feel like more of a community again.

Provide updates

Uncertainty can make people feel even more worried. However, by providing regular updates about the workplace and the future of the business, you can allay any fears amongst staff and build trust.

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Virtual extra-curricular activities

Virtual extra-curricular activities can also help recreate a tight-knit office feel. Try virtual yoga amongst staff, or perhaps you could organise drinks over zoom. Either way, you should encourage your employees to spend some relaxed time together. 

What can you do for yourself?

As an employee, there are ways you can help yourself feel more relaxed at work too. For a start, you can optimise your workspace: buy an ergonomic chair and maintain a clean and tidy desk. From there, you should ensure that you take regular breaks while also remaining sociable with your colleagues.

The pandemic has damaged mental health at work. If you’re feeling vulnerable don’t hesitate to seek help and support from your workplace.

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