This week is Mental Health Awareness week and it really does strike a chord with us during these very strange times. We keep hearing the phrase unprecedented times but as the weeks roll on and we are encouraged to adjust to the new normal what impact is that having on mental health?
I personally am taking up to 70 call per day either in relation to live jobs that I have advertised or just from candidates who are either concerned about the security of their job or feel they are not being treated fairly by the company they work for at this time. On the flip side I also speak with business owners who are trying to manage everything by themselves and are worried about the impacts of COVID on their business, cashflow, and their workforce. People are worried about money and/or about health and it seems nobody is unaffected by this awful virus.
I started my recruitment career in England in 2008 and the nature and the volume of the calls I have received in recent weeks are reminiscent of those I received back then. In my humble opinion the economy will bounce back more quickly than it did following the last economic crisis we faced. I have the benefit of speaking to people across most sectors and see that although times are exceptionally hard for some, if not most industries, some remain largely unaffected and some have even experienced an increase in revenues, so I feel I have somewhat of a birds eye view.
My concern is that the impact upon mental health and especially the mental health of the workforces will have a profound impact on bother persons and the economy going into the next decade. It is an unfortunate truth that we all suffer tragedy in our lives, bereavements, accidents and financial woes at some point. We probably took great comfort in a hug or a face to face chat over a cup of tea and in most cases that comfort has been restricted if not removed.
Adjusting to the new normal should not just mean coming up with new ways of remote working. It needs to include new ways of looking after each other and showing kindness. Prior to social distancing, I have many a client who has said to me “I want to see the whites of their eyes” (usually when they are negotiating on salary or a tricky interview question!) The rationale being that they will know their true feelings and be able to pick up if someone is bluffing.
The same level of scrutiny needs to be applied when we ask someone if they are ok! When you are checking in with your staff or they are checking in on you. Technology is a wonderful thing and has certainly helped businesses to keep the wheels turning during this difficult time and a zoom/houseparty/teams call with friends has been a blessing to many. However, without the little autocues that we can only see in person there is a chance that someone is always bluffing a little because someone is undoubtedly going through something. They just may not wish to say.
As employers long for the day they can return their workforce and get back to full capacity again they must be mindful of the impact that this crisis has had on mental health and emotional wellbeing.
We at Artemis Human Capital are proud to continue our longstanding corporate partnership with Inspire wellbeing as we feel that Mental Health in the workplace is of paramount importance and will continue to be as we welcome workforces back post lockdown. Please get in touch with Inspire to learn more about their Mental Health Services and what they can do for your business and your teams.