Post Covid-19: Increasing Need For Resilience In The Workplace

<p style="text-align: justify;">The repercussions of Covid still have a long-lasting global impact on mental health in the workplace. Evidence from the UK shows that the large increase in workers suffering from anxiety, depression, and stress during Covid-19 has continued and is still showing growth. &nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">These UK figures are consistent with global rates of over 15% of the population having a diagnosed mental health disorder and a further 10% not coping with their mental health. There is a clear relationship between increases in mental health issues and these being caused or made worse by work. &nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Impact of Mental Health</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">The impact of mental health issues is significant in terms of loss of confidence in work, lower productivity, and lost workdays, with figures higher in certain demographic groups. Therefore, organizations must have an economic, social, and moral obligation to invest in their workforce's well-being. &nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The benefits are well established in terms of work benefits with greater job satisfaction, commitment, engagement and personal benefits with greater self-esteem, purpose, and sense of control. The question, therefore, is how to do this and ensure it is effective in both impact and cost. There are various approaches, but building a more resilient workforce is key.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Approaches for Resilient Workforce</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Resilience in this context relates to emotional resilience in dealing with negative feelings and ensuring staff have the right tools to do this. Whether problem-solving skills, exploring negative thinking patterns, or practicing mindfulness, there must be an opportunity for this to happen. &nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Alongside emotional and mental resilience, there is a need to focus on physical resilience, particularly in an aging workforce and the rise in workers' long-term conditions. &nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Finally, organizations need to ensure that their teams feel supported through appropriate social networks at work as well as being able to build these outside the workplace. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Traditionally, mental health support has taken a bottom-up approach, relying on the individual to identify and seek support. Moving forward, organizations willing to invest holistically in workforce-centered policy and processes and training leaders to be more proactive through inclusive communication and engagement will likely succeed in this battle.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><em>This article was contributed by our expert <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Dr. Anna Baker</a></em></span></p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h3 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt;">Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Dr. Anna Baker</span></h3><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">1. What tools are available to support resilience?</span></h2><p>Various tools are available to support resilience, focusing on emotional, psychological, social, and physical resilience. Some of which include:</p><p><strong>Mindfulness and Meditation</strong></p><p>Mindfulness and meditation practices can help individuals develop resilience by increasing their ability to regulate emotions, reduce stress, and improve focus.</p><p><strong>Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)</strong></p><p>CBT is a type of talk therapy that can help individuals learn to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and develop more positive coping strategies through behavior change.</p><p><strong>Learning and Growth Mindset</strong></p><p>Embracing a learning and growth mindset can help individuals develop resilience by viewing challenges as opportunities for growth and learning rather than obstacles to overcome.</p><p><strong>Resilience Training</strong></p><p>Resilience training programs are designed to help individuals develop specific skills and strategies for coping with adversity and building resilience.</p><p><strong>Social Support</strong></p><p>Building and maintaining strong social networks can provide individuals with emotional support and a sense of belonging, which can help them cope with challenging situations.</p><p><strong>Physical Activity and Healthy Eating</strong></p><p>Regular physical activity can improve overall physical health, reduce stress, and improve mood. Ensuring that individuals eat the right foods to support this and maintain long-term positive health is associated with this.</p><p><strong>Self-Care</strong></p><p>Taking care of oneself physically, emotionally, and mentally can help individuals build resilience by increasing their overall well-being and ability to cope with stress. This requires recognizing challenges and seeking ways to manage or overcome these.</p><p>Tools must be supported with the proper behavior change skills, such as goal setting, self-monitoring, feedback, and problem-solving, to put these in place long-term.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">2. What should be included in a workplace wellness program?</span></h2><p>A workplace wellness program should promote employees' physical, mental, and emotional health. Here are some essential components that can be included in a workplace wellness program:</p><p><strong>Health screenings and assessments</strong></p><p>Regular health check-ups and assessments can help employees identify potential health issues early on and take preventive measures. Essential is to look at both physical and emotional health.</p><p><strong>Nutrition and healthy eating programs</strong></p><p>Offering healthy food options and promoting healthy eating habits can help employees maintain a healthy lifestyle.</p><p><strong>Physical activity and fitness programs</strong></p><p>Encouraging physical activity, such as regular exercise and participation in sports, can improve physical health and reduce stress.</p><p>Environmental interventions to promote physical and emotional change, such as promoting using the stairs, providing free fruit as opposed to vending machines, having walk-and-talk meetings, etc., &nbsp;</p><p><strong>Mental health support</strong></p><p>Providing access to mental health resources such as counseling and therapy can help employees manage stress and improve overall well-being. This must be accompanied by regular self-assessments for employees to recognize when they need help.</p><p><strong>Stress management programs</strong></p><p>Teaching stress-management techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation techniques can help employees cope with workplace stress.</p><p><strong>Ergonomic assessments and workplace safety programs</strong></p><p>Ensuring a safe and comfortable work environment can help prevent workplace injuries and improve employee well-being.</p><p><strong>Health education and awareness programs</strong></p><p>Educational resources and information on healthy living and wellness topics can help employees make informed choices and maintain good health habits.</p><p><strong>Staff training programs</strong></p><p>They are enabling management and senior leadership to have good open communication skills and the ability to support their staff proactively.</p><p>Overall, a workplace wellness program should be comprehensive and tailored to the needs of the employees and should promote a culture of health and well-being.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">3. What is the effect of the digital age on employee behavior?</span></h2><p>The digital age has significantly impacted employee behavior in several ways. Here are some effects:</p><p><strong>Flexibility</strong></p><p>Digital technology has enabled employees to work from anywhere, anytime. This has led to more flexible work arrangements, such as remote work and flexible schedules.</p><p><strong>Increased connectivity</strong></p><p>With the advent of digital technology, employees are now more connected to each other and their work than ever before. This has led to increased workplace collaboration, communication, and productivity.</p><p><strong>Information overload</strong></p><p>With the abundance of information available on the internet and digital platforms, employees can easily become overwhelmed and distracted, decreasing productivity and focus.</p><p><strong>Blurring of work-life boundaries</strong></p><p>The constant connectivity of digital technology can make it difficult for employees to separate their work and personal lives, leading to increased stress and burnout.</p><p><strong>Increased reliance on technology</strong></p><p>With the increasing reliance on digital technology, employees may become less reliant on their skills and knowledge, leading to decreased creativity and problem-solving abilities.</p><p>Post covid there are challenges in getting people together face-to-face but a need to recover the additional communication and engagement benefits. Furthermore, employees have the time to step away from technology to embrace what is around them.</p><p>Overall, the impact of the digital age on employee behavior can be both positive and negative. It is important for organizations to carefully manage the use of digital technology to ensure that it enhances employee productivity and well-being.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">4. What are some workplace strategies to develop resilience?</span></h2><p>Resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficult situations, adapt to change, and cope with stress. Developing resilience in the workplace is essential for employees to thrive and be successful in their roles.</p><p>Here are some workplace strategies to build resilience:</p><p><strong>Encourage self-care</strong></p><p>Encourage employees to care for themselves by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. This can help reduce stress and build resilience.</p><p><strong>Foster a positive work environment</strong></p><p>A positive work environment can help employees feel supported and motivated. Encourage a culture of collaboration, respect, and appreciation.</p><p><strong>Offer training and development</strong></p><p>Provide employees with the training and development they need to build their skills and confidence. This can help them feel more prepared and resilient when faced with challenges. Training must also be provided from the top down so that management can take a more proactive approach to developing resilience.</p><p><strong>Provide opportunities for growth</strong></p><p>Encourage employees to take on new challenges and responsibilities. This can help them build their resilience and confidence.</p><p><strong>Offer support and resources</strong></p><p>Provide employees with resources such as an employee assistance program, counseling services, and support groups. This can help them cope with stress and build their resilience.</p><p><strong>Normalizing</strong></p><p>Let employees know that others like them are experiencing similar challenges means they do not feel alone. This encourages people to reach out for support and not feel that issues are down to them.</p><p><strong>Foster open communication</strong></p><p>Encourage open communication between employees and management. This can help employees feel heard and supported when facing challenges.</p><p><strong>Recognize and celebrate achievements</strong></p><p>Celebrate employee achievements and recognize their hard work. This can help boost morale and build confidence.</p><p>By implementing these strategies, organizations can help employees develop the resilience they need to thrive in the workplace. The focus is on asking your employees what they want and need and hearing and listening to what they are saying.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Dr. Anna Baker

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