Succinct learning is a tried-and-tested strategy for developing your employees. Here's how you can implement it.
The workplace has become a battlefield. With technology and automation at our fingertips, why is it that we’re made aware of more stressors, syndromes and diseases every day? In recent years, mental health has really come to the fore as an important issue that needs to be addressed with both wisdom and sensitivity at work and home. Gone are the days where Pops hangs up his hat after an 8-hour work day and lovingly asks, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”
Many households are now headed by a woman or have two breadwinners, as life’s financial load increases and the global economy keeps shrinking. On top of this, we all have to deal with the ebb and flow of the current coronavirus pandemic — working from home, homeschooling, social distancing and ever-changing regulations. Global politics seem to be in shambles (haven’t they always been?).
Under all of this mounting socioeconomic pressure and the visibility that social media brings, we have seen a forceful upsurge of social justice movements (like #BlackLivesMatter) that are calling for greater accountability and real change on all fronts.
Minority groups are more likely to suffer from PTSD. — American Psychiatric Association
Much research into the effects of the pandemic and the global exodus to remote work has already been done since 2020, with specific emphasis on the ramifications on one’s mental health through personal isolation, job loss and a lack of empathy from managers and co-workers.
It has become clear that work and home are no longer separate entities, and stress and anxiety cannot be left at the door to be dealt with (if at all) at a later stage.
The good news is that when we become aware of a problem, we’re able to start solving it. Managers and HR professionals are directly responsible for employees’ well-being at work, since the implications of ill mental health on workers’ motivation and productivity are glaringly evident.
According to the Psychiatric Times, certain groups of individuals have now met the qualifying criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as per the DSM-5 as a direct result of the pandemic:
As a leader in your company you need to be sure that you stay informed about your employees’ personal lives. Of course, we’re not talking about what they did last Saturday or how much money they splurged online (frankly, that’s none of your business!). What we are talking about is knowing their circumstances and what they are dealing with right now.
As a leader in your company you need to empathise with what your employees are going through.
Perhaps Zandi is a single mom who is also looking after her high-risk parents, or James recently found out that his girlfriend’s 72-year old grandad has been hospitalised and isolated because he contracted COVID-19. These kinds of experiences are pivotal in people’s lives and can produce fears and anxieties that affect their social and work time.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is most often associated with war veterans, rape victims and neglected or abused children, but anyone who experiences a certain event as a trauma can suffer from PTSD. It’s normal to struggle with sleep, withdraw from people or be on edge after a difficult experience, however PTSD sets in when someone is unable to process the experience and move on — this can take weeks, months or even years.
You may not always be aware that your co-workers are living in a post-traumatic reality, but it’s good to be conscious of some of the signs of PTSD:
At work, PTSD may manifest in decreased productivity, lowered performance, and/or more frequent absenteeism.
In 2016, experts estimated that about 7 or 8 percent of Americans suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives.
In 2020, 62% of adults in the US reported worsened mental health since COVID-19.
All the most recent studies show that the pandemic is being perceived as a traumatic event on a global scale, which means that each one of us needs to be more vigilant and caring to ensure that we are all able to cope and process our experiences and fears during this time.
In conclusion, your job as a manager or HR professional is more than reaching targets, implementing policies and reporting. You’re the go-to person for the employees you lead who need guidance and support. It’s up to you to ensure employees have the tools to cope with the stress of work, home and life in general in order for them to stay motivated to reach the company’s goals and keep moving forward.
“Never discourage anyone… who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.”―Plato
A qualified artist (if you get such a thing) by training and a digital designer by trade, Sharné McDonald joined the Hi5 team in 2017 as a Happiness Hero. She currently holds the role of Product Marketing Manager and it’s one of her joys to delight customers and leads with great content, technical information and funny GIFs. She loves being a generalist and is currently completing a Masters degree in Art Education in her spare time.
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