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Shot in the arm for workplace culture: psychological safety of teams and empathy when it comes to mental health are the new goals

A few organisations have frameworks for their employees’ mental health and well-being as part of their HR policies. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of creating safer, more empathetic workspaces.

June 27, 2021 / 01:15 PM IST
(Representative image)

(Representative image)

COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on much of our population already. In addition to its physical impact, the pandemic also took a toll on our mental health - international public health organisations have repeatedly drawn our attention to a mental health pandemic in the wake of COVID-19.

Among working individuals across the world, some worrying patterns have emerged: With the blurring of lines between work and home, endless video calls and elastic work hours, ‘Zoom fatigue’ has become a thing. Within a couple of months of working from home (WFH), people began to long for not just for the human contact that offices offered but also the discipline and clear work-life demarcation. The fear of job loss and pay cuts also compounded their worries.

Yet as the pressures of pandemic anxiety, keeping ones family safe and WFH continued to build up over weeks and months, something started to shift in the landscape of some of our offices at least.

Whereas earlier, employees with a diagnosed mental health condition would often conceal it from recruiters during the job interview, now candidate, employees and human resource (HR) managers became more open to talking about mental health concerns and needs.