How Post-Covid Work Culture Has Affected Mental Well-Being

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Did you know 1 out 5 people suffer from severe mental issues and take their time off work due to mental health? Statistics show that 92% of employees feel that mental well-being is a very important topic while 49% of employees feel their workplace is a mentally unsafe place to work. Nowadays, mental issue is becoming a real challenge for employers and keep on increasing every day.

Mental issues are very common these days. Actually, they have been common for a very long time, the only difference is, in today’s time, we can openly speak about these mental issues and make people aware of those issues. Despite this, there is still a strong stigma (negative attitude) around mental health especially in corporate sectors. People with mental health problems can also experience discrimination (negative treatment) in all aspects of their lives. Discrimination can come from society, employers, the media, and even from your own family members.

Anxiety and Depression have become very common in the post-pandemic office culture and it is only increasing day by day at a very rapid rate. All these talk about work stress related issues but this stress can be prolonged and can lead to not only psychological damage but as well to physical damage. Stress at work can not only bring the symptoms forward but can increase the issue more as well. Depression alone has been linked to many diseases which include asthma, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and many more problems.

HOW CAN MENTAL WELL-BEING AND WORK-RELATED STRESS GO HAND-IN-HAND?

Work-related stress can aggravate the existing mental health issue, making it difficult to control. In case, it increases to such a point then sometimes, it gets ugly and very difficult to separate one from the other.
Common mental health problems and stress exist independently. People can or always experience mental issues as well as physical problems such as blood pressure, asthma, and diabetes also.
Stress is a¬† reaction to any events or experiences in someone’s home life, work life, or amalgamation of both. These mental health problems can single-handedly lead to postnatal depression, Post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD), divorces, or the loss of someone close to them.
As an employer, it is important to help to manage and prevent stress by improving conditions in a workplace environment.

WHAT ARE THE TOP 6 FACTORS INVOLVED WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES?

  1. OPPORTUNITY AND SECURITY: Job security, lack of appropriate resources, lack of learning opportunities, and a disproportionate pressure to perform lead to stress issues.
  2. TRAUMA: Occupations with regular exposure to traumatic events or experiences often lead to depression and also there is a higher risk of having PTSD ( Post-traumatic stress disorder). This is usually common among journalists, paramedics, military and police officers.
  3. STIGMA: Mental issue remains the most stigmatized group of disorders in the workplace. A responsible workplace should make an effort to reduce the stigma regarding mental illness and make the workplace a better place to work.
  4. SAFE ENVIRONMENT: A mentally healthy workplace provides both a physically and psychologically safe and lively environment to work for the people working.
  5. WORKLIFE BALANCE: Individual employees may suffer from personal crises that will eventually impact their workplace and working schedule. It will also hamper their productivity and ability to work normally.
    Research has shown that job satisfaction, organizational support, and training can have a protective effect on the people at risk.
  6. DEMAND AND CONTROL: Jobs that are characterized by high emotional or cognitive demands have a higher rate of sickness absence due to mental illness.

WHAT DO PSYCHOLOGISTS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS?

Nowadays, psychologists have started addressing the issues of mental illness at workplaces and how it has started affecting severely the people working in offices, corporate sectors i.e. every other workplace. They have openly addressed about how the mental problems have started impacting the daily lives of the employers by putting them into survival mode.
One of the famous psychologist, Nicole LePera have further noted down that how workplace practices severely harm mental health through a matter of urgency. How employees are burdened with deadlines, and how they are not provided with a little boundary to make a balance between their professional and personal life.
Low pay wage employment leads the employee to look for a side job and also to survive at least decently. Sometimes the people we work under play a very vital role in hampering our mental well-being.

PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS TO INCREASE WORKPLACE WELL-BEING:

Recent research has identified certain interventions for improving the workplace environment.
1. Consider workplace health promotion strategies that include physical health activity rewards, education, and mental health awareness.
2. Programs that include CBT ( cognitive behavior therapy) and Relaxation training have been shown to have an effect in previous studies.
3. Increasing employee control through the implementation of multi-level working.
4. Guidelines for peer support schemes or other ways to ensure staff are able to seek help whenever they needed.
5. Implement resilience training programs for higher-risk occupations which can lead to high exposed stress and disorders.

Mental health should be the priority in the workplace and especially after post-COVID, it needs to be on top of the list as seeing the rising list of people suffering from depression and anxiety. Psychologists are really concerned about this particular matter. We should try and make workplaces more open and independent to freely talk/discuss mental illness.

Mrinalini
She has recently completed her undergraduation from Banasthali University, Rajasthan. Her subjects were English, History and Political science. She is currently preparing for her Master's in International Relations.

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