Navigating mental fitness during COVID-19
Updated: Apr 3, 2020
There is a real, current challenge for people and companies in staying ‘mentally fit’ right now. But where there is a challenge, there is also a huge opportunity for organisations.
Our experience and research tells us that:
50% of your workforce is healthy and coping at the moment – let’s keep them here.
30% of your workforce is vulnerable. They could go in either direction – let’s ensure they move in the right direction.
20% of your workforce have a diagnosed mental health condition- i.e. depression or anxiety – they need positive support now more than ever, concurrent with clinical treatment.
The mental health needs of workforces across Australia (and the world!) are rapidly expanding with the stress of COVID-19. But many need help with HOW to do this. They aren’t alone in being unsure how to navigate this new workplace health challenge, and they certainly don’t have to navigate this on their own. We’re here to help, with a range of services that can be implemented immediately – even if the workforce is largely working from home or restricting site visitors.
Having already dealt with the immediate physical risks associated with COVID-19 (i.e. the basics of removing people from crowded office spaces, improved hygiene processes and limiting face to face contact etc.), many organisations are now considering how they will meet their obligation to provide an ergonomically/physically safe work environment, as employees set up workspaces from home. The aim here is obviously to mitigate against ergonomic injury risk to employees and subsequent (costly) WorkCover claims. We have remote, online ergonomic options that meet this need.
Organisations are also now considering their obligations to deliver a "mentally safe" work environment for their employees. In part because it is their legal obligation, but also because they are particularly mindful of being able to deliver business continuity during and beyond the current circumstances we find ourselves in - and this requires healthy, operational staff.
In Australia, employers have a duty under workplace health and safety legislation to provide and maintain (as far as is reasonably practicable) a safe workplace. In addition, employers have a duty to monitor the health of their employees, which extends to risks around employee psychological and mental safety. We can assist organisations in meeting these obligations – it’s one of our areas of expertise.
How can we help? We have programs that address the things we can control, i.e. sleep, nutrition, movement, caffeine, alcohol, mindfulness etc. This will help employers meet their obligations to keep the 50% well, while also being scientifically proven to improve the health of the health of the 30% and 20% of your workplace. This latter category is made up of vulnerable and unwell people. We address your obligations via a total population approach.
You might have an EAP program in place. But now is the time to be proactive about mental health, not simply reactive. Usage rates of EAP’s in some industries are as little as 2-3% and average rates hover around 5-6%. Yet 20% of the population will have diagnosed depression or anxiety each year. This is BEFORE considering the mental health impact of COVID-19 and its associated isolation:
Lack of social connection heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes per day
Loneliness and isolation can be twice as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity
Along with contributing to depression and suicide risk, loneliness can also lead to heart disease, diabetes and dementia
How is your organisation supporting its people through COVID-19? Let’s get proactive together, because the mental health of your workforce cannot be ignored and it’s your legal obligation. Contact us today to find out how we can help.