- Cara Fielden
Post-pandemic wellbeing at work: Still a priority?
It became very clear after a global pandemic and multiple national lockdowns that wellbeing needed to be something very much considered in the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way society thought about mental health and wellness, with an interesting and new focus on how this impacts our work life. Employers introduced schemes to their employees to help them with their wellbeing, mental and physical, due to the restrictions that were suddenly imposed on us in 2020. But since the easing of restrictions and with the virus at ‘arm's length’, is wellbeing at work still as much of a priority? Read on to find out our thoughts.
The coronavirus pandemic made huge changes in our mental health as a society, dealing with social distancing, isolating from friends and family, restriction from what we knew as normality and suddenly having to work from home. Our lives were completely tipped upside down, inside out and back to front! Adapting to change is hard as it is, but the pandemic brought a lot of grief, depression, anxiety, and so much more to our lives and no way to prepare for it.
Is wellbeing at work still a priority?
If we’re talking about the conversation around wellbeing at work, yes. There is an obvious narrative that suggests it should be at the top of the list. It seems to be spoken a lot about in the media and online, but is it really a priority? And is talking about it really enough?
Schemes were introduced, workplaces have been adapted, wellbeing support was provided through such difficult times, and many of us had the choice to work from home during the worst of the pandemic. But what has really changed? There’s not much obvious attention on wellbeing in the workplace now compared to in the midst of the pandemic - which of course makes sense to a degree, but a pandemic is not the only reason that employees might need support - and many of us are still feeling the effects even now.
The emotions and experiences that took place for many during the pandemic can happen at any time in a sense - feeling depressed, anxious, grieving, or just generally struggling with mental or general health. There should always be support available at work for these potential problems and the effect they can have on our wellbeing at work.
Is it up to our employers to make us happy or fix our problems?
No, but it is up to them to provide support so we can perform our best at work when we inevitably face mental struggles inside and outside of the workplace. It should be a place we feel safe and that does not further damage any aspect of our wellbeing! We should be striving to feel (or help our employees feel) content or satisfied at work when it comes to our wellbeing, not necessarily providing happiness. Wellbeing at work doesn’t necessarily mean getting more holiday or better pay, it means being given or provided the right tools to enable us to start looking after ourselves bit by bit. We can’t change your company’s work culture or ethic, but we can implement important tools that have been proven to help us feel well both mentally and physically.
Should it be a priority? Well, we sure as hell think so! Feeling comfortable, safe and well at work should be a number one priority of ANY company! Whilst there are many factors of a successful workplace, feeling like our wellbeing is intact whilst we’re at work will improve our productivity, focus and desire to get our work done. Focusing on wellbeing at work means we’ll feel better equipped to handle everyday stressors, so we’ll be able to thrive in life inside and outside of work!