The Pandemic is Improving. How is the mental health of your employees as they return to the office?

Keeping burnout at bay has always been a priority for wellness managers and HR execs, yet the question of employee wellbeing, in COVID times, has naturally garnered more attention than ever before.

In March, Education Minister Lawrence Wong announced that 75% of Singapore’s workforce would be allowed to return to the workplace from 5th April onwards. Now that many workers have made the journey back to the physical office, it’s more important than ever that we address mental health and wellbeing as an absolute priority.

No one could have predicted the huge impact of COVID-19, and from an employee’s perspective, there have been a plethora of challenges. For many, working from home has blurred the boundaries between work and rest - not to mention the general emotional baggage of living through a pandemic, with many employees having to juggle childcare to boot. Of course, many people are welcoming of a return to office, but after such a long hiatus, expecting employees to “bounce back” is unrealistic - workers need support, time out and guidance so that they can efficiently readjust.

The concern surrounding employee wellness is common across sectors and industries, from SMEs to multi-national corporations. In fact, LinkedIn recently announced that they would be giving their entire company a week off. This may sound like a bold move to some, but all evidence suggests that it’s also a necessary one.

LinkedIn made the decision following a survey conducted last summer which clearly indicated a shift in employee feeling; as Teuila Hanson, LinkedIn's chief people officer, told CNN: “We started to see the emerging of themes in and around burnout, lack of self care, struggle with family, people feeling lonely or isolated.”

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, with another of their surveys finding that the majority of their 700+ top-level senior managers had felt burdened with self-doubt throughout the ongoing covid period. This feeling was ubiquitous throughout the company hierarchy; according to LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index, 59% of all their employees had experienced a decline in their mental health during the pandemic.

The reality of the situation is undeniable. According to Asana, 46% of employees say they are burnt out due to overworking - while 32% say it’s because of an inability to disconnect after work hours. Singapore has long prided itself on high levels of productivity, yet, data from Asana indicates that Singaporean workers miss more than one in four deadlines per week. Companies naturally desire a return to pre-covid levels of efficiency, yet the fact that 37% of workers in Singapore have indicated increased rates of burnout over the past six months must be factored into any strategy for a return to office. During this time of change and vulnerability, companies can benefit both themselves and their employees by seeking to nurture resilience and wellbeing in their workforces.

Naturally, strategising for employee wellbeing in such a turbulent time can be a daunting task for HR teams and wellbeing managers. For wellness schemes to be successful, they must be comprehensive. The burden of this task shouldn’t be placed solely on in-office activities, instead, wellbeing managers should be given licence to arrange days out of office with a wellbeing theme so that employees can benefit fully from activities away from the workplace.

Programs such as The DMC’s Employee Restart Leadership & Development Program perfectly facilitate this kind of nurturing for Singaporean companies looking to make a substantial effort towards vitalised employee mental health. With customised workshops focussing on giving individuals a total reset, curated collections of activities and retreats, such workshops can help employees regain their hold on a calm sense of confidence.

In particular, the mindfulness workshop offering yoga and sound therapy provides a great chance for managers looking to restore their employees’ purpose and productivity following a difficult period of stagnation across Singapore. It includes corporate yoga and meditation, giving employees a chance to tap into the benefits of a technique used throughout the millennia to restore peace. With some of the best classes in Singapore available through the DMC’s programme, these workshops help individuals better manage stress, while also providing some much-needed recuperation following a period of instability.

Just as we wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day after a long, restful sleep - mindfulness activities can help employees heal and readjust after the period of mental stress that has been endured by workers all over Singapore. In fact, mindfulness is also associated with increased levels of concentration and cognitive function - so for both employee and employer, it’s a win-win!

Also included in this package is sound therapy. This service is available in key locations around Singapore and provides an amazing option for mental rejuvenation. Why not replace your employees’ endless notification beeps with the sound of healing gongs? It’s an activity with real, tangible benefits for burnt-out employees, allowing them to reconnect with their creative abilities and inner sense of calm.

If you’re looking to help your team hit the ground running getting back in the office in Singapore, get in touch to book a consultation via the form below, or drop us a line to find out how we can help curate the ideal wellbeing activities for you and your organisation - because every business, is a health business.

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