Prioritizing Employee Mental Wellbeing is Key to Returning to the Workplace 0

Nikhil-Arora_-VP-and-MD_-India_-GoDaddy

As we return to the workplace, companies must make employee mental health and wellbeing a priority. Let’s look at what companies can do to create an environment of psychological safety in the next stage of the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled us to look at various aspects of our lives from a completely different perspective. Not only did the pandemic affect our personal lives, but it also brought significant changes in the way we work and engage with each other. The influx of work from home culture presented itself as a massive challenge that demanded employees to balance their work lives from the confines of their homes. As the pandemic is regressing, the corporate world is slowly trying to reintroduce workplace normalcy in their employees’ lives. A big part of returning to the workplace includes starting important conversations about employees’ mental health.

According to a survey by The7thFold last year, 36% of Indian employees are suffering from mental health issues and 50% are worried about an uncertain future due to the pandemic. Many forward-moving organizations have now realized the importance of blending mental wellbeing into the agile working environment, to help provide employees with a balance of professional and personal lives.

Here are a few ways businesses can encourage their employees and help maintain overall wellbeing:

Make recognition a part of the company culture

An impactful way to promote employee wellbeing is to recognize your employees for their efforts and contributions at work. According to a research report, three out of five employees believe employee recognition and appreciation is imperative especially while they were working from home. And now as the workforce is gradually returning to offices, organizations need to implement effective employee rewards and recognition programs as it leads to higher motivation, ownership, and commitment among employees.

At GoDaddy, we are big on celebrating successes, and ensuring that all the hard work and impact created by our people is recognized and rewarded at internal events and communication platforms. Ever since the Covid-19 outbreak, employee recognition has emerged as an indispensable tool for keeping things intact as the workforce becomes more dispersed, disconnected, and stressed.

At GoDaddy, we are big on celebrating successes, and ensuring that all the hard work and impact created by our people are recognized and rewarded at internal events and communication platforms. Ever since the Covid-19 outbreak, employee recognition has emerged as an indispensable tool for keeping things intact as the workforce becomes more dispersed, disconnected, and stressed.

Conduct employee wellness sessions and programs regularly

Companies need to pivot their employee engagement programs to be more interactive and solution-oriented. The global pandemic saw a drastic increase in cases of personal stress, anxiety, and depression. This development has pushed businesses to conduct regular counseling and therapy sessions for their employees to help provide them with a safe and healthy support system in-house. As an employer, it is important to take the first step forward and acknowledge the importance of these conversations. Because of the difference in the sources of stress across workplaces, more bespoke solutions are also needed.

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Companies should consider hiring skilled professionals who can offer advice and guidance to employees who might be feeling over-stressed or anxious. Peer support and group exchanges can also be useful within a supportive organizational culture that allays the stigma of revealing one’s issues. By providing access to digital wellness coaches and professional counselors, regular online workshops, and mobile apps that can assist 24/7, companies can take a needed step to establish helpful coping mechanisms to enhance employee wellness, even amidst the work from home situation during the pandemic, and then through the transition of returning to the workplace.

Communication is key

The global pandemic encouraged people to become more vocal about mental health and has taught us more about the importance of empathy and communication.

As a leader, it is important to check in with your employees, engage in meaningful conversation, and be compassionate towards them to help make them feel heard. Positive communication that is based on respect, trust, and collaboration is the cornerstone of creating healthy workplace communication. Make employees aware of the mental health resources that are available in the company and encourage them to access those. Effective communication is essential. Telling employees the importance and availability of open and regular communication channels can go a long way.

As a leader, it is important to check in with your employees, engage in meaningful conversation, and be compassionate towards them to help make them feel heard. Positive communication that is based on respect, trust, and collaboration is the cornerstone of creating healthy workplace communication.

Update policies and practices

In this new normal, to help businesses recover and grow employers need to assess the need for change and implement policies and practices to accommodate and serve their employees better. Companies can offer more workplace flexibility and introduce policies that recognize challenges such as homecare, childcare, elderly support, medical care, and acknowledge the need for career advancement opportunities.

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As an example, many organizations have reframed practices by bringing in small changes like announcing mental health breaks and Covid-19 leaves for employees, along with four-day workweeks. Consider including mental health services in employee health insurance plans. As well as considering introducing new health care services and practices, like telehealth to help facilitate remote patient-clinician contact, monitoring, care, advice, and remote admissions.

The workforce is the backbone of any company. A physically and psychologically healthy employee will contribute to a company’s overall growth and success. At GoDaddy, we are focused on fostering an ecosystem with employee-centric programs and policies to help improve the mental and physical health of employees. We are working closely alongside our health and safety teams to create programs/policies to stay informed and effectively help our workforce overcome these challenges. Considering the rapidly changing environment, at GoDaddy, we will continue to support our employees as they transition into a post-COVID environment and return to the workplace.

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Nikhil is the Vice President & Managing Director at GoDaddy where he leads strategy, business growth, operations, and customer care for the company.  In a career spanning two decades and five countries, Nikhil has led several functions including corporate strategy, business development, marketing, finance and operations for various global entities. Before this, Nikhil launched and led the Asia and India operations for WeWork.

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