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Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace

Jun 1, 2020 | 11m

Gain Actionable Insights Into:

  • Why the indirect approach for mental health acceptance in the office works best
  • Understanding your team’s needs, balancing out connecting with giving them space
  • Why wearing casuals to a group virtual call isn’t such a bad idea


Mental Health, Now More Than Ever

The COVID-19 pandemic has ignited conversations everywhere, from the state of the global economy to the importance of wellness and mental health. These two issues happen to be quite related – economic downturns can lead to many companies restructuring or even going out of business, which burdens working professionals with high levels of stress. Looking back, even during the Asian Financial Crisis and the 2007-2008 global recession, stories of mental health struggles were aplenty.

However, regular times of uncertainty also present a challenge to our mental health. Suppose the COVID-19 pandemic and its upheaval of life as we knew it never happened. We’d still feel greatly pressured during our evaluation or annual review period. While some leaders are great at offering feedback before such major events, others are not; stress, anxiety and self-doubt would weigh heavy on our minds, without a clear sense of where we stand or how we’ve been performing. Would we make the cut for the next financial year, or would we be the unfortunate ones cut loose? That uncertainty, centred around a fear of becoming financially insecure, has only been amplified with an economic downturn and wide-scale disruption to contend with.

Mental health and many other issues surrounding the workplace have been mostly kept out of sight and left out of conversations in the past. This pandemic has brought everything into sharp focus. When the world embraces its new normal after this turbulence has passed, the importance of mental health in the business landscape must continue to be championed. That way, whether a new crisis emerges or not, companies will be able to take care of their employees’ mental health and cater to their well-being.

You’re not a good leader if you’re too busy to support your team’s mental well-being and understand the issues they’re facing. In your position, your number one priority is to carve out enough time in order to know your people inside-out. If you don’t, how are you going to help them reach their potential? For better or worse, their performance also reflects on you, and their job is not to make you look good. As a leader, your job is to motivate and engage them to do their best, making them look good.

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