Irrespective of the job we do and the pay cheque we receive, we are all human beings who need to stay fit emotionally & physically in order to be efficient and productive. The pandemic has not only affected human health but has also disrupted other aspects of human life. Financial concerns, job insecurity, emotional stress etc. are some that top the list.
Most companies have shifted to a remote working environment to continue their business operations amidst the COVID-19 crisis. However, the restrictions on socializing and the sudden changes in the work environment have created both physical and emotional stress for the workforce.
This piece talks about some of the easy and simple practices that will help employers in catering to their employees’ physical and mental health during COVID-19 and telecommuting.
Easy steps to ensure the mental wellbeing of your workforce
Employers need to place employee concerns first and revenue concerns second during today’s unforeseen pandemic situation. While frontier technologies like data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc., are empowering businesses to forecast trends and behaviours, the inability to apprehend, control and rationalize a situation like the current pandemic creates high levels of stress and is a major source of anxiety. This is applicable for both employers and employees. Employees are undergoing tremendous stress, much like their employers, just in different ways. Here are a few steps that will help employers in catering to the emotional health of their employees.
- Telecommuting can induce a sense of isolation over time. Hence, keep in touch with your employees time and again. Let them know you are always there to help them. This will improve their trust and loyalty towards the organization
- Connect with them on a personal level. Use the three magic words – Are you ok? This will help your employees open up about their challenges comfortably. Also, connecting with the workforce on a personal level helps strengthen the sense of community
- Many employees do not have a ready-to-go home office environment. As the workforce was compelled to shift to a remote working environment suddenly, they may be facing unique challenges that may diminish productivity. Be empathetic towards circumstances arising out of remote working such as children at home, connectivity issues, family interferences etc. and show compassion and kindness to your employees in those moments
- Fear can be deterrent for productivity. Hence, take time to acknowledge the psychological upheavals of your workforce and find ways to help them manage the stress. Set up well-being counselling virtually. Organize fun community activities that will help your employee engage and socialize virtually. This will keep them distracted from the worries stirred up by the pandemic and help them stay optimistic
Daily mantras to cater to our mental and physical health
Our actions and decisions are a reflection of our emotions. Before catering to the spirits of our counterparts, friends, and family, we need to keep our own spirits high. Hence, catering to our emotional health is important to stay strong and spread positivity to our fellow mates in an unprecedented situation. The following are some tips that will help individuals manage their stress and anxiety owing to the current COVID-19 crisis.
- Avoid excess information. Too much of anything is good for nothing. The saying applies to the information consumption habit that has turned into an addiction in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the eagerness to stay updated, we might be dragging ourselves into throes of depression. Hence, just keep an update on safety guidelines and avoid the noise on infection rates and mortality rates
- Eat healthy. Food is the fuel for your body and mind. The lockdown period is a good time to build healthy eating habits. No parties, no get-togethers – this is absolutely the perfect time to go on a diet without distractions
- Take small breaks. Small breaks in the day are essential to refresh your body and mind. If working remotely, make sure to get yourself mindfully distracted through hobbies or any fun activities in between your work schedule. This will help you improve focus on work.
- Do simple meditation. Take deep breaths – inhale 5 seconds, hold 3 seconds, exhale 5 seconds. This will help you relax and calm down easily and instantly
- Tend to your locomotory system. Take a walk, do simple stretches. Let’s not rust our joints by staying motionless at home.
- Get your beauty sleep. Make sure you get a sound sleep for 7 to 9 hours to heal your body and restore your brain chemistry
- Practice Gratitude. Remind yourself that you are not going through this alone and be thankful for all the things you have today
Employees look forward to their employer’s support and guidance in turbulent times. As COVID-19 is not only a physical health issue but also a mental health issue, companies and its leaders should step up and cater to the emotional well-being of their employees, amongst other things.
Dr. Siddhartha Dutta