Written by Liverne Le Grange, HR Operations Manager of Training Force
During the COVID pandemic we saw an increase in mental health awareness across the world. While everyone’s physical health was at sever risk during the outbreak of the virus, we were all hyper aware of the fragility of mental health while we navigated social distancing, isolation, loss, grief, and more. People were posting their thoughts, both written and recorded, across social media platforms, alerting others on how to take care of their mental wellbeing throughout an incredibly trying time.
The World Health Organization record an approximate 25% increase in depression and anxiety amidst the pandemic. Looking at this finding, one can’t help but to wonder how much our employers contribute to our feelings of depression and anxiety? Is there a direct correlation between the two and if so, how can our employers turn the tables to safeguard our mental wellbeing as well as our psychological safety in the workplace?
Mental wellbeing can be described as a combination of one’s feelings and how one functions in daily activities, including interacting with others and managing work stress. Whereas psychological safety is defined as feeling safe to speak up on concerns, risks, or questioning without fear of being humiliated or punished for doing so.
Post pandemic work conditions have seen employers take various measures to provide employees with the necessary support to help them through personal or work-related stresses that may impact their over wellbeing. These measures might include Employee Wellness Programmes which promise to provide professional services to employees 24/7/365. This generally comes at no additional cost to the employee. Some employers even grant their staff a “duvet-day” or a “mental-health day” for those times they might not feel up for the challenges that come with a new day but might physically be in good health.
Many employers aim to create a psychologically safe working environment for all their staff and look to different methods of building the environment through:
- Creating safe platforms for employees to voice their opinions or concerns
- Providing opportunities for employees to come up with new ideas
- Giving recognition where praise is due
- Allowing for constructive/productive feedback
- Turning risk/mistakes into opportunities for growth
Psychological safety can tell you a lot about a company’s culture. To create a progressive working environment where everyone collaborates, companies need to focus on creating psychologically safe workplaces for all.
Employee well-being and psychological safety can truly transform the workplace and assist staff in their productivity, increasing the bottom line and embracing a true growth culture.