The ongoing battle with COVID-19 has impacted countless fronts across the globe. The virus has not only stolen thousands of lives and disrupted the daily routines of the entire world’s population, but it also continues to pose a threat to the mental health of individuals all over the globe.
On World Health Day, it’s crucial to shed the lights on some of the posed mental health struggles that employees are going through due to the pandemic:
The pandemic has left people rallying to find ways to keep their jobs and businesses afloat. With unemployment rates increasing drastically after the spread of the virus, many people are falling into the deep fog of stress struggling to provide for their families. Millions of people have lost their jobs and others are living under constant fear and worry of waking up jobless. There is no denying that the loss of financial security is a risk to survival. This might cause a drastic impact on their mental health and result in further repercussions in the long run.
On the other side of the equation, some people are suffering from stress because they’re being overworked. For example, workers in the medical field are on the forefront of this battle and come face-to-face with thousands of patients daily. This can leave medical employees with an overwhelming sense of fear which puts them at greater risk of stress and mental health problems. That is why it is imperative for doctors and nurses to adopt high levels of safety measures and develop mental boundaries. In addition, many businesses, such as tech and telecommunication companies, are processing more workload, with companies and people turning to the digital world. As a result, employees might be overworked and left with deep feelings of stress. It is important for employers to be mindful in this situation and not cause further distress to employees during these difficult times.
As many countries started easing the lockdowns’ rules, employees are starting to return to their workplaces. And as a result, an increased sense of anxiety began looming over offices. Employees are returning to their jobs with a constant feeling of fear of catching the virus. And although safety procedures such as wearing masks and social distancing are still being adopted, you can still sense the anxiety among employees at the workplace. If anxiety was not properly managed it can have a debilitating effect that causes a deep sense of distress. One way to manage stress and anxiety is engaging in meditation and mindfulness techniques, as well as trying to maintain a sense of control by thinking about things that are solely within the control of the person.
Loneliness and Depression
On one end of the spectrum some would prefer to stay and work from home, while others are finding working from home a challenging alternative. Working remotely has proven to increase feelings of isolation and loneliness in various cases. The increased sense of loneliness can potentially cause severe mental health issues such as depression. That’s why it is important for businesses to encourage open communication and empathy among their teams.
With the second wave outbreak of Covid-19, more businesses are encouraging their employees to work from home. This might be a reasonable approach to follow social distancing and avoid getting infected with the virus, but it can also be quite taxing to people’s mental well-being. When working from home, the line between work and personal lives can be blurred and therefore might cause many employees to struggle in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. However, this can be dangerous as it might cause burnout and pose a negative effect on their mental health. This is why it is important to set and stick to healthy schedules and boundaries, such as dedicating a separate space for work or having an end-of-day ritual.
That being said, working at the workplace may also cause a burnout during these unprecedented times. As mentioned earlier, people working in the medical and technical field have never encountered this volume of workload in modern history. Thus, they are extremely vulnerable to experiencing burnout and its repercussions. Therefore, a work-life balance is essential regardless of the work’s location.
It is always important to address the importance of mental health, especially in unprecedented times like these. Talking openly about mental health challenges and finding ways to cope with them is crucial in helping employees maintain a stable state of mind when everything around them is anything but stable.
By Sama Al Kurdi
Sama Al Kurdi is an Industrial Engineer who is passionate about the business and tech scene in the MENA region.
The views/opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Al Bawaba Business or its affiliates.
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