Mental health is something that everyone possesses. When we are in the right frame of mind, we have a sense of direction. But just like physical health, mental health fluctuates too. Raising mental health awareness in the office is essential to build an inclusive workforce environment.

Prioritizing the mental health of employees has now become more important than ever, and should be a priority of all employers. In this article, we will cover the need to pay heed to employees’ well-being and why it is beneficial for the company’s future.

Due to the pandemic, we have been in lockdown for more than a year now, and it has shown us to keep things in perspective, including mental health. It is going to be unsettling for people who are planning to rejoin work.  Not only have people gotten used to working from home, but stepping out from the house has become a nightmare. Needless to say, there is the pressure of making up for the “lost time”. The code for staying efficient and productive whilst transitioning back to work is being prepared and self-aware.

This is year is turning out to be something that no one expected. Some people across the globe are uncovering new techniques of getting back to work, while others are adjusting to working remotely. For most people working from home has been like giving water to ducks. They are enjoying the flexibility and the freedom that comes with it. Others who are not proficient with digital tools have found this transition dreadful.

When any kind of change occurs, continuous efforts are needed to adapt to it. This can put stress on the cognitive abilities of our brains and impact our mental health.

There are a few ways by which you can ensure that your employees’ mental state is not hampered when they resume your regular office schedule like-

  • Respect for boundaries

One of the basic things that people are bound to forget after resuming work is the boundary between home and office. After working from home for so many months, people have gotten used to comfort. They might forget that they are no more working from home. Creating strict rules about how to separate personal life from work might help everyone to adjust their fixation of work from home feeling.

  • Hybrid work model

The best way to make sure that your employees are working productively and are in their right state of mind is by giving them the option to work from home once a week or month. Many studies have shown that remote work had a negative impact only on 1-3 percent of people. The others were more comfortable and made the best use of work-from-home options. After going through these challenging times, many people would prefer to keep working from home due to fear. Therefore giving them an option to work from home whenever they are feeling anxious, will keep them happy and increase their productivity. Creating such a hybrid work model will be beneficial for the company as well as the employees.

Role of HR Department in Healthy company culture

  • Rotational work schedule

Another genius way to pay attention to employees’ mental welfare is by creating a rotating work schedule. Divide the employees of your company into groups, and create a rotating schedule for them. By this, each group can come to work on alternate days. This will also avoid a large cluster of employees working together in proximity, thereby reducing the spread of the virus.

  • Hygiene implementation

One of the prime concerns that are going to affect the mind of employees is the fear of contracting corona. Their anxiety can be reduced by ensuring that your office is following all safety and hygiene regulations. Every employee should be provided with a hand sanitizer on their desk. Additionally, offices should also consider installing hand sanitizing solutions in high-traffic areas. Places like lobbies, cafeterias, and conference rooms are full of people. Keeping disinfectants in all such places can ensure safety. Keep maximum doors open at all times to avoid touching the door handle and knobs. The office can also open the windows to increase airflow. Posting reminders everywhere in the office can also be of great use. You can inculcate all the prime safety measures on the poster like- handwashing practices, sneeze/cough etiquettes, avoiding coming to the office if they are ill, or are showing Covid-19 symptoms.

  • Update policies

The pandemic has changed the functioning of all the companies completely. Due to this, they should update their policies to fit into the ideal practices. To begin with, update your policy of sick leaves and include information about the coronavirus. Will the employees get paid leaves if they are Covid-19 positive, if yes, then for how many days. There is a high possibility that there could be a second wave of the coronavirus. The companies need to come up with a long-term plan, keeping in mind the consequences caused by the pandemic. Even though all the companies are trying their best, but this pandemic is turning out to be a never-ending marathon. The mental health of the employees is of utmost importance. The companies should set up a mental health group for everyone where they can share their anxieties and feelings. Include mental health in your leave policy. If your employee is physically unwell, you won’t expect them to come to the office. Mental health should be given equal importance.

  • Eliminate distractions

Lockdown has given everyone a chance to contemplate and reflect on their lives in a different way. People have clarity as to what helps them concentrate and what causes distraction. Employee’s concentration can decrease if the office has an open plan. Unnecessary gossips and meetings can hamper thinking abilities to a large extent. Keeping this in mind, rules and regulations should be created to ensure the employees are focused and working efficiently.

How HR can Improve The Work Environment in Times of Crisis?

The Key To Post-Crisis Recovery            

To make the transition of work from home to office easy on employees’ mental health, a new era of the people management system should be introduced in all organizations. This can be done by below given 5 easy and necessary measures.

  1. Review

Reviewing is the first step in crisis and mental recovery. Following the old rules and regulations will not suffice post-pandemic. Handling the employees’ mental welfare is going to be tricky. The companies will have to bring in different voices, perspectives, and leaders to input what is going to be the next process. They will have to do this keeping in mind the severity, intensity, and impact of business and employees by continuous reflection.

  1. Retransmit

As the companies begin the post-pandemic recovery, their focus should be on the well-being of the employees. Mental well-being will include an emphasis on workplace practices such as flexible work schedules that address employees’ emotional and psychological health. The managers should identify the diversity of employees’ expectations and help them in recovering and transitioning back to work. Companies should communicate effectively and directly with the employees to discuss future plans and goals for them. The organizations should also assess and implement policies for the employees to maintain a healthy work-life and personal life balance. Giving importance to the mental health of the employees will help them in thriving, rather than just delivering the expected outcome. The company should come up with a system that will help the employees to feel engaged and comfortable in the office.

  1. Reenergize

The recovery process will create an opportunity for the companies to re-engage their employees and maximize their productivity and contribution. Team leaders should not force the employees to overwork, as this can create a negative impact and employees might end up leaving the firm. Managers should provide the employees with clear instructions on how new techniques will be applied, including digital ways of working and new technologies.

  1. Rethink

As the companies start coming to terms with the reality of the post-crisis world, they can use their new work priorities to reconfigure and rethink their evolving business needs. It is crucial that companies communicate how and why they are deploying employees. Rethinking also means reconfiguring the new work environment post-crisis. Changing the workforce composition gives an opportunity to reinvent the business successfully. During the first phase of the crisis, many companies came up with new digital technologies and automation to make working remotely from home easy for the employees. They will likely continue to do so post-crisis as the employees have gotten used to it.

  1. Restart

This part of the post-crisis recovery pertains directly to rebooting the HR function and employees’ mental health with pressing workforce priorities. The recovery process will not be successful if the HR department doesn’t give priority to the employees’ mental and physical health. The way HR reboots the work system post-crisis will play an important role in the growth of the company. They have to ensure that new systems are in place which is made keeping in mind the needs of the employees.

Takeaway

If companies want to ensure that they are steering the wheel in the right direction, they have to make employees’ mental welfare their priority. Only by doing so, they will be able to get back on track and reach new epitomes of success.

To know more about how to deal with workplace post-pandemic, read our HR management website blogs on Pocket HRMS.

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