The COVID-19 pandemic changed our world drastically. With unemployment rates high and economies struggling, a solution had to be found that allowed employees to operate safely; for many that answer was remote work.
As of February 2020, an estimated 19.5 million people worldwide worked remotely full time. That number continues to rise. In Canada, almost five million employees began working remotely in response to COVID-19 regulations. 65% of Canadians working from home said they would like to continue working remotely more frequently in the post-COVID world.
With an increasing demand for remote work and flexible hours, an estimated 55% of all companies worldwide are now offering at work at home in some capacity. However, this does not mean the end of the office.
COVID-19 and Mental Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on mental health globally. A recent American study found that 43% of Americans said that the pandemic has had a “serious impact on their mental health.” The pandemic has also caused a rise in cases of anxiety and depression, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) across the board. As COVID-19 regulations and restrictions lift and employees return to the office, how will employers cater to the worsened mental health epidemic?
Employee Mental Health: What are Employers Doing?
Most employers understand the extreme impact COVID quarantines and social distancing has had on mental health as they have probably felt the waves of these effects. Maintaining a workplace that supports workers’ mental health and well-being is critical during reintegration. Though there is little research completed on the reintegration into the workplace post-COVID, many companies have put an emphasis on flexible hours and mental health supports.
Many people have become accustomed to working from home. In fact, 66% of people say they feel more productive when they work from home. With many companies offering fully remote positions, smaller companies are now considering flexible hours and remote work to accommodate employees who prefer working from home.
Employers are also integrating additional mental health support into the office setting. This may include the following: additional training for supervisors to recognize at-risk employees; Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs); providing mental health resources in the workplace; participating in mental health workshops and seminars, including mental health coverage in health plans; and improving conversation around employee mental health.
Return to Work Stress, Anxiety, Depression, and Low Self Esteem
If your mental health has been impacted by the thought of going back to the workplace, you are not alone. 54% of Canadians reported feeling anxiety about returning to the office.
If you are feeling negatively about returning to work it may help to talk to your employer about what reintegration into the office will look like, mental health supports that they are offering, and if continued remote work is a possibility.
Exercising regularly, sticking to a sleep schedule, eating a balanced diet, spending time in nature, practicing relaxation and self-care, keeping a journal, and talking to loved ones all may help alleviate anxiety and depression symptoms.
How Mental Health Supports Like Workshops Can Help Reintegration
When there is a drastic change in one’s environment, safety net, and support systems, anxiety followed by depression is common. As the environment in which one lives becomes more uncertain, one becomes awash in negative thoughts which can remain even when we’re emerging from the pandemic. This can trigger old, unconscious and limiting beliefs which can begin to dictate your life. Many of these old beliefs were formed in childhood during traumatic events.
Wherever you are in your mental health and the post-COVID-19 reintegration into the workplace, Hilarapy may have some solutions. They’ve specifically designed several bespoke workshops that precisely address employee anxiety around returning to regular work. These in-depth workshops are transformative in reducing the stress and worry surrounding reintegrating into the workplace.
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Chris Lilly twitter linkedin Chris Lilly is a publisher at finder.com. He’s a specialist in credit-based products including business and personal loans. “Working from Home (WFH) Statistics 2021.” Finder UK, 1 Mar. 2021, www.finder.com/uk/working-from-home-statistics#:~:text=Work
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By Hilarapy Editorial Staff. Hilarapy is a leading comedy therapy organization. For more information on how comedy therapy can help you or someone you know, go to hilarapy.com