Understanding Mental Health in the Contemporary Workplace and Overcoming Challenges

What is mental health?

The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.” Looking back at the past five years how mental health was approached at the workplace, is very much different to how it is today. Though many employers understood the importance of it, the COVID-19 pandemic changed this drastically.

Mental health in the current workplace

The misconception following the pandemic is that the ideal employer is the one that enables you to work remotely. However, as it provides many advantages such as parents being given the opportunity to spend more time with their kids, people spending less time commuting to and from work, or even help in preventing the spread of illness and diseases, many may disagree.

Along with the many good things working remotely brings, there are many drawbacks as well. Loneliness and isolation, anxiety, stress, pressure, and depression would be a few. Likewise, although it’s a good thing that you get to spend more time with family it can be a distraction and affect your productivity which leads to negative feedback from your employer.

Reasons for drawbacks and tips to overcome them

Loneliness, isolation, and depression will be experienced due to working by yourself. To be an effective worker you will need a space where you can focus and not be distracted to perform your duties. However, unlike at a workplace where you have others to talk to, bounce off ideas, or when having a stressful time to simply crack a joke with, the only person available is you.

Tip: If you are a person who appreciates music, have it playing in the background. This will give your environment some sound and the illusion of not being alone. Further, have constant contact with your colleagues. Whether it is for a meeting or even just a catch-up session, ensure you have contact with others. Mainly, do interactive things with your colleagues, if possible, outside the working environment.

Being distracted by family, having household chores, not being able to shut down for the day in a timely manner, or having breakdowns in systems/internet and hardware can be various reasons for anxiety, stress, and pressure to occur while working from home.

Tip: Primarily your mind and body need rest, so make certain to take breaks whether it is five minutes or more as this is the number one reason for employees to burn out. Set boundaries with your family members. Explain that you will be working for a certain period and should not be disturbed. Plan your day, set a routine, and stick to it. That way you can get most of the chores and work done. There will always be exceptions where you will not be able to complete everything. That’s alright, don’t forget that you are human. As for system failures, that is out of your control, and becoming stressed and anxious serves no purpose.

In conclusion, make your mental health a priority. This will make a productive, long-term employee and a happy employer.

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