Prior to the pandemic, it was rare to talk about Workplace Mental Health. How quickly times have changed! Today, there’s so much attention and awareness on our daily mental health at work. Conversations that acknowledge our challenges in sustaining positive mental health at work are now a common, daily occurrence.
No one is immune to the many mental health challenges that all of us are facing during this global pandemic, and this includes myself. Living through a pandemic has changed our perspective on life, on what’s truly important, and what we are no longer willing to tolerate in the workplace. There’s no denying the fact that we’ve all had to find our way through continuous change, and we’ve all had to adapt.
To compound matters, when we examine the amount of stress this pandemic has caused for all of us, at work and in life, it stands to reason to take a step back and to turn our attention on the importance of positive workplace mental health. And it goes without saying that the sheer absence of not addressing positive mental health at work will continue to impact levels of ENGAGEMENT, PERFORMANCE & CONNECTION in significant ways. Keep on reading!
Whether you or I have been directly impacted by COVID or not, the ramifications of the pandemic have changed everyone’s thinking about mental health, mental well being, mental wellness, and mental health optimism at work.
Check this out. Recently, over a 7-day period I had conversations with five experts in today’s world of work on a variety of topics.
Each one of the experts that I spoke to provided their insights as to THE MENTAL HEALTH IMPACT OF COVID-19. Here is a list of the TOP 10 INSIGHTS that I gathered from my conversations. The list itself is in no particular order of priority. Also, reflect upon how each of these insights affects levels of ENGAGEMENT, PERFORMANCE & CONNECTION as noted on my website.
- Strong vax/anti vax polarization. Hard to move people to the middle. This includes Sophistication Bias: We don’t trust that simple will work.
- People are challenged to establish physical and psychological boundaries.
- Seeing a lot of sadness and depression that is leading to more stress.
- With stress, people are making poor decisions and quitting their jobs, thinking the stress will go away. But it does not.
- Feeling isolated. Languishing. Mental fog.
- Whole thing feels weird.
- Employers having a hard time getting people in work mode. Lack of motivation.
- We are not playing, not having enough fun.
- We have “the hamster wheel” of anxiety spinning in our heads.
- The Great Resignation is a real thing.
So, where do we go from here? Neither you nor I can fully appreciate the toll that Covid-19 has taken on our colleagues at work, friends, family and so many others. Does this mean we stand idle and turn away? Of course not.
My best advice?
EVERYTHING STARTS WITH A CONVERSATION.
This is exactly why Powerful Play Experiences is The Only Team Re-Building & Fun At Work Business That Is Opening The Conversation About The Importance Of Positive Mental Health At Work…Home l Office l Hybrid.
As an Avid Mental Health Champion, people have come to know me as someone who is comfortable starting a conversation about my own personal story of living with and managing depression & anxiety. My bigger goal? To be a role model for men everywhere who really need to get comfortable with starting their conversations about their daily mental health and get the help and support they need.
All of us can START CONVERSATIONS. This simple act of starting a conversation is a clear demonstration that “WE CARE”. Life has taught me that when we show WE CARE, the likelihood of moving others and ourselves to a much better place, a much happier place, increases!
And when we go to a place of showing that WE CARE, it’s equally as good for our overall mental health, mental wellbeing and the mental wellness of others.
My biggest fear? When leaders of influence put up barriers that get in the way of both STARTING A CONVERSATION & WE CARE. Here’s an abbreviated list of 5 Barriers from my official list of 9 Barriers.
- I don’t think it’s my job to help someone who is experiencing some sort of mental health problem. After all, people are hired to do a job. My job is not to take care of someone’s mental health problems.
- I don’t have time. Heavy workloads, busy schedules, limited resources make it very difficult to think about putting yet another important item on my plate, especially a framework for workplace psychological health and safety.
- I don’t want to start anything here in the office unless the leadership of the company is committed to mental health in the workplace. After all, I don’t want to be seen as someone who is doing more for my staff than the company expects me to do.
- I don’t have any money in the budget for managing workplace mental health issues.
- I don’t need to address someone’s very personal mental health problems in the workplace. It’s personal. Not professional.
Attention All Leaders!! The challenge is on to build a work culture on the foundation that EVERYTHING STARTS WITH A CONVERSATION. Get ready to start documenting all the positive changes that you see happening.
My next best advice?
PLAY-BASED WORKSHOP EXPERIENCES.
Online & In Person Play-Based Workshop Experiences are designed to generate authentic conversations and get people talking about positive workplace mental health.
And why Play-Based?
- In Person & Online PLAY-BASED WORKSHOP EXPERIENCES are a great remedy for anyone experiencing mental health challenges. Play frees the soul from sadness, stress, anxiety. It then opens space for plenty of fun and a much-needed dose of happy & good energy to step-in. People then feel safe & comfortable to start conversations, tell their stories & feel much better.
- Google “Serious research about the benefits of play for adults”. Example – Stuart Brown, Psychiatrist & Founder of the National Institute for Play, states that even a small amount of Play can boost our productivity and happiness. We can therefore conclude that Play is vital to our positive mental health.
- – Play invites no judgment. Play invites complete acceptance.
– Play allows us to lean into vulnerability in a safe space.
– Play breaks down barriers to hard conversations.
– Play shifts our perspective & opens our minds to learn more about ourselves.
– Play. It’s Just Plain Fun!!
The number one principle that all participants can expect in Play-Based Workshop Experiences? “FREEDOM TO PLAY YOUR WAY!” This is how I responded to Jen Easaw, Professional Colleague in the Field of Career Development when she brought forward a poignant perspective: “Robert. You facilitate workplace workshop experiences on mental health where we are all expected to participate and possibly share stuff with work colleagues.
This makes me feel anxious and has the potential to make others feel anxious. At least, this is the picture I have created in my own mind about what would be involved.”
So. Let’s begin to wrap things up.
- Fact: “Work to be done” requires positive mental health – positive workplace mental health.
- Fact: At the end of the day, if you’re raising positive workplace mental health levels, how could this not spill over into productivity? How could this not spill over into shifting the relationships between everyone at work at home? How could this not result in more happy at work at home?
Robert’s Top 5 Indicators of Positive Workplace Mental Health:
- People’s ENERGY passionately shows up each and every day. This motivates collaboration and commitment.
- People’s RESPECT in the workplace supports the exchange of open and honest communication.
- People’s SKILLS & EXPERIENCES result in the courage to embrace ongoing workplace changes.
- People’s WORK SATISFACTION is abundant while plenty of Happy At Work is very much apparent.
- CONNECTIONS with one another are obviously authentic, transparent and inspire trust.