Mental fitness always matters in the workplace but it matters now more than ever. Whilst it might be years before researchers understand the true cost of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that incorporating employee mental wellbeing into their COVID-19 recovery plan, will help leaders to ensure their workforce and businesses thrive as we emerge from this global pandemic.
We have seen the largest and quickest shift in working patterns as a result of global lockdowns. Financial worries, social isolation, work disruption, increased family responsibilities and uncertainty about the future are some of the key stressors employees have experienced during the global pandemic. This stress, when left unchecked, can lead to burnout, reduced productivity and low morale – impacting on mental health and job performance. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s pivotal that leaders are supporting the mental fitness of their workforce by helping them to recognise and manage stress.
Benefits of a mentally fit workforce
- Increased productivity and focus
- Reduced absenteeism
- Reduced workforce turnover
- Improved overall wellbeing of employees
Common COVID-19 Stressors
The global impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented. The pandemic has combined a number of features that have seemed almost perfectly designed to cause both immediate distress and long-term traumatic stress. For businesses, the impact on the workforce is also unprecedented – whilst each employee has their own individual stress, the collective challenges we have all been facing can have a significant (but manageable) impact.
Uncertainty can be a major source of stress. Throughout the pandemic, we have all faced unknowns and uncertainty – medically, financially, socially and emotionally. This lack of control, especially when combined with increased work and life demands, can have an adverse impact on employee mental health.
We have been subjected to a deluge of information around Covid-19, a lot of which is mentally challenging. Some employees, in an effort to stay informed or manage their anxiety, may be spending an excessive amount of time reading news or checking social media posts. In response, some workers may become emotionally fatigued.
The disruption of regular routines and social contact from family, friends, colleagues, and other community members as a result of Covid-19 can lead to feelings of boredom, loneliness, sadness, and despair. For workplaces that normally function around face-to-face contact, this has caused an additional challenge for employees, who have had to learn to adapt working processes.
Increased domestic responsibilities
Covid-19 has dramatically impacted many households. Workers with children or caring responsibilities for eledery relatives have faced an increased level of responsibility. Juggling the demands of homeschooling, alongside work responsibilities has proved overwhelming for many.
Growing concerns over family income due to furlough, lack of job security or sickness can have a negative impact on our mental fitness. Financial concerns are also a major contributor to relationship stress and breakdown, which in turn impacts on our work performance.
How to support the mental fitness of your workforce
Benchmarking your Mental Fitness and the Mental Fitness of your teams is the first step towards improving resilience and performance on both a personal and organisational level.
Our mission is to improve the Mental Fitness of everyone and to work with like-minded organisations who share our values. To begin the Cognosis process for yourself and to receive your personal Mental Fitness report, please click here.