Coronavirus – The High Impact on Employee Mental Health

It’s no surprise that the Indian economy has taken a big hit post coronavirus/Covid19 as the news arrives. The GDP of the country has contracted in double-digits, the lowest in decades. We have come from being the world’s fastest-growing economy to our GDP being lower than Bangladesh, the situation looks bleak for everyone in 2020.  

We can be hopeful that we will soon be able to recover from this monumental loss, however realistically speaking, it’s going to be a long journey upwards. 

We were all suddenly bombarded with sudden shifts and most draconian being the sudden lockdown that was imposed overnight. It’ll be an understatement, to say the least, but no one was prepared for such a situation. 

Every third professional has lost his job since the Corona Virus

The lockdown put a strenuous pressure on the economy, post-pandemic too has bad effects on the economy while people lost jobs, business, and livelihoods, the morale dipped low too. Data shows that an estimated 122 million people lost jobs and 24 millions of them were the youth. When such a big chunk of your population loses their means of survival it is bound to affect the psyche of the nation, considering the post-pandemic markets look un-promising at the moment. 

facts- corona virus and high impact on employees

Fear of losing one’s job, social isolation, fatigue, and burnout from Working-From-Home is one of the many reasons for poor employee Covid 19 mental health effects. Human beings aren’t designed to work in isolation, even though we were surrounded by our families constantly, it didn’t quite help. Being surrounded by families constantly has inevitably led to a negative impact on mental health too. Not everyone has a safe space to call home, in fact, some employees especially women had to bear the brunt of this shift the most. Indian society has progressed to allow women to be an active member of the workforce but not progressive enough, as the whole and sole responsibility of taking care of the household and nurturing children heavily relies on women’s shoulders.

Corona Virus and Mental Health

Let’s clarify what does the term ‘mental health’ actually implies, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can make a contribution to his or her community.” Although one might think of the above definition as an ideal scenario, many companies were actively working towards striving for a work-life balance, shockingly no one has any idea what ‘Work-Life Balance’ means anymore! It has been a tough year filled with death and despair and to be honest we are far from WHO’s definition of mental health. Naturally, we haven’t fared well, according to the Study by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence, as an estimate of 78% of the global workforce has been negatively impacted by this shift. 

So a valid question to ask at this point would be, what is the way forward? There is a big vacuum that lies before us, what shall we do to fill this gap?

Companies who wish to prosper in 2020 and beyond must include employee mental health benefits in their health programs, as they say, it takes a village, and rightfully so. Individuals have shown better results when they were engaged in communities and received active mental health support by employees from their colleagues, bosses, and peers. Everyone, especially employees are in a deeply vulnerable state and they must feel heard and safe, the least a company can do is offer an empathy-based approach. One must work towards developing a healthy approach towards mental health in offices. The post-pandemic has bad effects on jobs, culture entails listening to your employees, empathizing with them, and taking care of their mental health. 

corona virus impact on mental health

However, we must throw light on the fact that taking care of someone’s mental health is a huge task in itself and inexperienced managers can have a difficult time. In such a case, it would be advisable to get professional support from someone who is trained in doing so, it will leave you with less stress and better results. 

The work policies that you devise and the work culture that you imbibe should all reflect employee sensitive sensibilities. You begin with devising a work culture that does not uphold mental health as a taboo. 

This circles back to the basics of this argument which is, the lack of general awareness around issues of mental health, and terrible situations in a post-pandemic office environment. The one who is silently suffering because he or she feels as if they will not be heard will rarely come to you for support, which is why as an organization/company you must be willing to extend an olive branch, to be able to help your employees by actively listening to them. You can also organize mental health wellness workshops, which will honestly not cost you much since everything can be done over one zoom call. 

If you were happily employed pre-corona, lost your job due to the Covid 19 pandemic, and are currently unemployed and looking for options, know that you are not the only one, 122 MILLION people have lost their jobs too, we are all in this together. 

Corona virus and impact on employees

If you still have a job, firstly be thankful, having an active source of income during a pandemic is nothing less than a blessing. However, if you started working from home and are continuously struggling to adjust to the shift, read up on some useful and easy tips on how to maximize your productivity while working from home. 

If you lost your job but were fortunate enough to find another one, but are currently struggling to adjust because you have not met anyone in person and their zoom appearances just don’t qualify, hold on to your horses because there will be better days ahead! 

Let’s make happy workplaces and be serious about your employee’s mental health within your organization.

 

What are the five top reasons, which is affecting our employee’s happiness?

1) How much I am better than yesterday?

When an employee’s feel that they are better than yesterday, they will start seeing happiness tomorrow if not today. This kind of happiness is called “Flourishing”

2) Whether I am working for a bigger cause?

Remember why many of our employees joined Anna Hazare’s anticorruption India moment in 2012. They wanted to become part of something big.

3) How many friends I have in the office?

The topmost reason for an employee not to leave the organization is having a close friend in the office.

4) Whether I need to take permission for switching my zoom camera off in meetings?

The topmost reason for an employee to leave the organization is bossism.

5) Can I raise my doubts freely in official meetings?

Do your CEO know the problems faced by your front level employees?

7 Key Factors That Contribute to Happiness at Work

1. Relationship with your colleagues
It is important to have and maintain healthy relationships with your co-workers after all you do end up spending 8+ hours five to six days a week. If you look at it this way, you are spending more time with your office family than your real family and honestly, that makes all the difference. It is important for employees to feel a sense of belonging and that effectively contributes to workplace happiness. If you look forward to going to the office over let’s say the weekend, it makes all the difference.

2. Relationship with your boss/Manager
Our bosses, superiors, managers are people we directly work with, however, the power dynamics remain so that one party has more power over the other. There are bosses who make their employers a living hell by exercising their power in all the problematic ways. In return, this creates a toxic and hostile environment, counterproductive to happiness. Therefore, it is important as managers, we are kind and treat their employees/juniors with the utmost respect.

3. Sense of achievement
It is important for human beings to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day otherwise, life seems quite meaningless. There are many factors that give us a sense of achievement, apart from receiving our salary at the end of the month.

4. Work-Life Balance
The question that arises for any employee would be ‘Do my employers acknowledge the importance of Work-Life Balance’? As the world changes at a rapid speed and boundaries between personal and professional begin to blur, research has shown that an employee/employer who acknowledges work-life balance tends to show more accountability towards their work by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, at home and workplace both!

5. Sense of Freedom
The Runoff the Mill strategy to keep employees bound to their workstation does not work anymore. Employees want to feel free to make their decisions whilst knowing that their employers have full faith in them. Like any other relationship, a working relationship is also built on trust.

6. Transparency open communication
Speaking of trust, the only way to build a trustworthy relationship is through open communication and transparency between colleagues and especially between employees and employers, everyone needs to feel like that they are on the same team. One can organize weekly meetings or monthly reviews within their teams to accommodate everyone’s viewpoints and make the whole process a little more inclusive. Trust us, this exercise can ONLY do you good!

7. Work culture
Some had a baby, celebrate! Someone got a new car, celebrate! No, you don’t have to throw expensive parties. A small effort goes a long way. We must remember that employees spend more time at their workplace rather than at home, in that way the workplace becomes a second home for many. We must work towards developing a healthy work culture where everyone genuinely feels at home and rightfully motivated to work. Generally speaking, work-culture is an umbrella term that encompasses all the above points and as enough research shows, a healthy work culture leads to better retention rates, higher productivity, better sales, and overall long sustaining growth for the company at large. It’s a Win-Win situation, really!

How does a CEO tackle/handle unhappy employees at work?

How does a CEO tackle/handle unhappy employees at work?

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things”. Well, this may seem easy, but trust me setting the right examples, leading a team, and managing day to day activities is not that easy! When we are working with people in a team, differences are bound to surface, the atmosphere may tend to heat up and members may show signs of strain. Not a pretty picture, right?

Whatever the situation may be, a leader has to ease up the tension, resolve the issues before they explode, and impact the productivity and the culture of the team because success comes when the team works together in tandem, but how can a leader do that?

Here is a complete guide on how to handle unhappy/difficult employees at work.

Keep an open mind: The first step is understanding and accepting the differences: People in a team will have a difference of opinion which is not always a bad thing, it helps you see the perspective of the others, which may have some value to it. So, a leader should be willing to accommodate the differences as well. Hear people out, value their opinion and they will feel accepted in the team that in turn helps build a trustworthy environment to work in.

Not being judgemental: The key is analyzing not assuming the situation. It is easy to assume that the employee is unhappy, however, analyzing the situation is what it takes to be a proactive leader. Take time to assess the situation, talk to the unhappy employees, and offer the best possible solution. You may be surprised to know that sometimes the solution can be simple. Sometimes the cause of unhappiness can be not related to work at all and may be due to personal issues. You can choose to offer help in terms of employee happiness programs, online employee counseling sessions, etc.

Maintain privacy: Take time to personally meet the employee: Meet the employees on a one-o-one basis. Pointing out a difficult employee in a group meeting is never a good idea, take out time and meet the employee in person. Like we mentioned earlier as well, the cause of unhappiness may not be related to work and can be due to any personal situation in life in general, in that case, privacy is the key, based on that you may be able to provide a solution and change an unhappy employee to a happy employee.

Document everything: Sometimes, employees can be difficult, whether the cause of unhappiness is the productivity of the employee or the work ethics, repeated absenteeism, or complain from a fellow employee, it is a safe practice to document the conversations, the emails, meeting outcomes. It may save you from a lawsuit in case you chose to send an employee for a performance improvement plan or employee termination.

Above all, be patient, keep a cool head, and give time to your team members. This reminds me of a famous quote “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”.

Did you ever thought that all efforts of our employees are not to become happier?

Did you ever think that all efforts of our employees are not to become happier?

But to avoid unhappiness.

To remain in the Comfort zone.

They think that their comfort zone is happiness.

If this is true, Business tycoons have enough money, they could spend the rest of their life is in their comfort zone.

But they don’t do so.

They keep starting business after business.

They know something which they never learned in university.

That is why I say, ‘H’ in university is for “Happiness”

Attend the workshop on Employee Happiness.

You will be surprised to know the secrets behind the employee happiness.

What is the real example of Employee happiness!

Client: One of my senior employees is infected by COVID. Please assist him with the best possible treatment and help him and his family to overcome the fear.

My team member: Yes Sir, we will do it, please pass on his number to me and we will take it up from here.

My team member arranges a call with a psychologist and doctor with the patient and his family members.

After one-hour client calls up

Client: Thank you very much, the employee can handle the situation now and the family member is much relaxed.

My team member: Welcome Sir! and I will stay connected with him for any further assistance.

Now, where is employee happiness in this case?

The client won’t know that the person assisting them from my team, himself is tested positive and recovering in home isolation.

When our team is happy, they will keep our clients happier and business is just a result of it.

This is Employee happiness in true sense!

So, if you want your Organisation to flourish, then you need to keep your employees happy.

No other option. Period.