There’s no denying the global coronavirus pandemic has greatly impacted all of our lives. And one of the biggest impacts has been on the way we work. For many, jobs have become more difficult and our traditional ways of decompressing are no longer available to us. Simply put, the stress of today’s workforce is off the charts. We’re sharing some recent findings, our conversations with leaders, and giving you a gift that will help you celebrate yourself and your own mental wellness (so keep reading!)
- According to Morneau Shepell’s Mental Health Index 2020 report, 43% of the U.S. workforce is putting in more effort at work and another 43% of those surveyed are in need of some sort of mental health support.
- According to a McKinsey study, the groups impacted the most by the pandemic are women, working parents, the LGBTQ+ community, and people of color.
- A Metlife study shows that 41% of employees feel their employer is not currently offering benefits or programs that help support or improve their well-being during this challenging time, while 77% say there are benefits or programs that, if offered by their employer, would ease their stress and improve their well-being.
Whether you’ve worked from home for years or wish you never heard the term “home office,” it hasn’t been an easy year. The CXR Community recently held a CXR Connects — a monthly opportunity for CXR Members to connect on timely topics — focused on mental wellness. It was a chance for our community to share successful strategies to help support and improve mental wellness. Participants on the call had some fairly simple ideas that anyone can implement in their own remote environment. You can listen to the 45-minute meeting wherever you listen to podcasts (just search for careerxroads) OR keep reading for some great takeaways and a contest… did mention there’s a contest happening right now?
Listen to our latest podcast on Wellness in the Workplace.
Working remote isn’t new – but being forced to work remote takes a toll
Before 2020, it wasn’t unusual to find people who had chosen to work from home. Many companies were offering opportunities for people to work remotely at least part of the time if and when they chose to do so. Companies with those policies in place have found natural work-from-home mentors. Giving those people an opportunity to coach those who would prefer to work in an office but are now “stuck at home.” Teaching everything from how to manage time to how to take breaks, these WAH captains can be a valuable resource for your team. As we look at likely months before a return to work scenario is possible for most office-workers, tapping into these mentors can reap big mental wellness benefits for your employees.
CXR Recommends: Top strategies to improve mental wellness in the workplace
- Start each meeting with a simple ice-breaker: What two words best describe how you’re feeling today. Get away from the generic “how are you” and let people share so everyone knows what’s going on in each other’s world before making demands.
- To normalize talking about mental wellness, one company recorded a series of interviews with employees at all levels honestly & authentically talking about how the pandemic is impacting their lives.
- Move away from the traditional, American workweek – consider letting people work four 10-hour days and then have an extra day off.
- Stop the meeting madness! Institute no-meeting days or allow people to book “takeback time” where they can choose a block of hours when they will not participate in meetings. When the weather is nice, do phone call walking meetings. Host some meetings with video off. Or once in a while, book a meeting and when everyone arrives – send them all away with the gift of a free hour.
- Encourage physical & mental health with fitness challenges. Whether as part of an overall corporate initiative or within your team, incentivizing challenges encourages behavior that promotes mental wellness and improves overall health. Aside from challenges, consider offering free classes by tapping into your diverse employee base to find yoga instructors, Peloton coaches, fitness trainers etc.
- Offer paid or co-paid access to programs that help your employees and their families. From exercise apps to programs like Girls With Impact to meditation apps, there are a wealth of options you can subsidize for your employees that show you care about their wellbeing and support better mental health.
A meditation challenge for you
Perhaps the most often mentioned strategy by the CXR Community was meditation. Some have even gone so far as to reserve the last 5-10 minutes of each meeting for guided meditation for any who choose to stay. Many people on the call use Headspace or have companies who have offered free subscriptions for their employees. I personally have benefitted from the Headspace app for years and believe that guided meditation is indeed a powerful tool for mental wellness.
So what’s the challenge?
In honor of CXR’s 25th Anniversary, the first 25 people who respond to this post in our forum on celebrating ourselves and boosting mental wellness in our community, and within our teams, will receive a free year of Headspace courtesy of the CareerXroads team.
Yep, go here. Join the conversation. And if you’re one of the first 25 to post a reply, you’ll be on your way to stronger mental wellness with a free year of Headspace.