Swati Sawhney, a social worker and currently the head of a startup Center of Healing started her journey to enlighten lives a decade ago. Belonging to a business class family and seeking education from Delhi University, she always had an urge to enhance other people’s lives in every manner she could. As a social worker, she actively worked with various NGOs, took free parenting classes in schools, took seminars on girl’s education in Delhi Council for Child Welfare, and also took classes on good touch and bad touch in schools like Adarsh Play School and many such social events. After being a social activist, she was still looking for a platform that could help people fight their problems, so she established the Center of Healing which helped people enhance their inner soul and body and recognize their strengths which could apprise and brighten their future. She also runs her NGO named The Center of Healing which works in the upliftment of underprivileged women and kids. The basic motive of Swati to establish this NGO was to provide life skills to poor women so that they could become financially independent and attain a respected position in society. This NGO also works in the field of improving the al health of people. Swati has recently won The Game Changers Business Awards, 2019 as she has changed the game in the field of mental health and made people live a mentally healthy life.
The Coronavirus poses new challenges that are different for everyone. With this virus we enter the unexplored territory, making it necessary to find new ways of functioning and communicating, while still taking care of our mental health and well-being. The global pandemic has not only impacted the physical health of many individuals but it has taken a toll on their mental health as well.
For the first time, many are teleworking for full time, detached from colleagues, friends, and relatives. Our everyday life routines are disrupted that is causing major anxiety, stress, and strain – physically, mentally, and financially. This disruption and ambiguity are normal to lead to anxiety and stress. Now more than ever we all need to look after our mental health and well-being. As we protect ourselves from potential coronavirus exposure, we also need to keep in mind that social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation.
The importance of mental health is appreciated more than ever today. Mental health affects every aspect of our lives, including our working lives. It makes sense for employers to think about their mental wellbeing and to take appropriate steps to help them to make sure that their mental health is doing fine. Good mental health also positively impacts the physical health of a person. Happy and healthy employees are the backbone of a great organization. Biological and environmental factors affect the mental health of a person. An employer has no control over the biological factors but he or she can influence the work environment.
Employers should ensure that they take good care of their employees during COVID, but also otherwise. Employers should make sure that their employees are fit and happy, at home, and work. There are a lot of things an employer can do both at a big and small level to positively impact an employee’s mental health. Here are some of the ways an employer can help:
- Stay in touch: Some colleagues may be feeling isolated and anxious during this period because of social distancing. Employers should check-in and ensure the employees that there is help available. A message, an e-mail or a quick phone call would make the employees feel more connected. Extra steps should be taken by the managers during this time to check in with their team daily about things other than work. Hosting video calls regularly would be a good idea to stay more connected.
- Create a comfortable physical environment: A comfortable physical environment helps create a more optimistic atmosphere which in effect leads to better motivation and a greater desire to deliver good results. High levels of natural light at the workplace gives you good exposure to vitamin D that helps to boost the mood. A clean, clutter-free environment helps remove distractions and improve levels of concentration.
- Taking Breaks: Employers should make sure that their employees are taking breaks in between. Taking breaks improves the decision-making ability of the employees. Taking breaks also helps to restore their motivation, increases productivity as well as efficiency. Working for long hours can lead to stress and exhaustion. Taking breaks in between long working hours helps to refresh and replenish the mental resources.
- Keeping plants at the workplace: Plants help reduce stress. The presence of plants mitigates stress-related conditions such as anxiety, fatigue, and depression. This could be because of the possibility that plants make the workplace appear more calm and serene. Plants also help to increase the productivity of the employees.
- Avoid employee burnout: A high level of productivity is a positive objective which most workplaces are striving to achieve. But it can be a big mistake to obsess about profitability to the degree that you ignore the mental health of your employees. The impact of employee burnout reaches to other employees as well. You extract the highest-quality, most consistent work from people who are in a good place in terms of physical and mental health, and who feel that their needs are being met.
- Recognizing employees’ hard work: Appreciation is a basic human necessity. Employees respond to appreciation expressed by acknowledging their good work because it validates that others value their work. When employees and their work are valued, it boosts their productivity and gives them satisfaction and they are motivated to maintain or improve their good work.
- Ensure Healthy work-life balance: Work-life balance is a state of equilibrium in which the demands of one’s career and the demands of one’s personal life are equally prioritized. A good work-life balance has numerous positive effects. Employers who are committed to ensuring work-life balance environments for their employees can save on expenses, experience fewer cases of absenteeism, and enjoy a fairer and more efficient workforce.
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP): It is necessary to provide an EAP benefit that gives workers free access to a variety of therapy sessions. But, many corporations don’t spend enough time reminding employees to have access to these services. Whether an employee is going through something as serious as a marital problem or something less serious as insomnia, EAPs can help employees address the issues that distract their performance. But they need reassurance that it’s completely confidential and free of charge.
- Grant Employees Autonomy: Independence should be given to employees in whenever and however they feel like working within the bounds. It encourages the employees to share their valuable feedback and opinions. To have a positive atmosphere that the employers should not interfere in the small matters of the employees.
- Be more vocal about mental health: Mental health does not have to be an uncomfortable and awkward topic to talk about in the office. It deserves the same amount of importance as any other health-related issue. All mental health problems should get addressed regardless of the cause. There should be an environment in the office where the employees feel comfortable enough in asking for health and support.
- Celebrate: Last but not least it is important to celebrate. Even if it is the small wins, it should be celebrated. Employees get to know that they are progressing at work in some way, even the slightest bit and they will in turn feel more motivated to work harder. Also, birthdays and anniversaries hold a very important place in a person’s life so it should not go unnoticed and should be celebrated.