The Covid 19 pandemic redefined the benefits and perks organizations offer to employees. One of the areas impacted most is employee wellness in the workplace, and what companies can do to help keep employees staying healthy, happy and, quite frankly, more mentally aware and balanced.
Mental health is the hottest agenda topic as the world navigates through these global changes and learnshow this new level ofstress and anxiety impacts team members. Feedback on opportunities to enhance existing benefits, programs and social outlets is flowing more freely now than ever before. Easy access to mental health support is a frequent request and what we have learned is that team members may not even know that their benefits actually include things like virtual tele-med appointments, prescriptions plans and access to mental health resources.
It is estimated that 70% of full-time employees in the US worked remotely during the pandemic. They experienced a form of exhaustion, anxiety and stress like never before and were completely unprepared for navigating through it. Now, as companies reopen offices to team members, let us not lose sight of our responsibility to nurture and promote the resources available to support quality mental health.
PhoenixTeam is a 100% remote company since forming in 2015. While we may not have been impacted by as many challenges as other companies during the remote transition, we did adjust to the change where necessary. Here are a few tips we offer to our team members to help them acknowledge and process through stress:
- Be honest about your productivity and set realistic expectations. Keep the communication lines open with your leadership team and know this is a judgment-free zone. This can help reduce the feelings of being overwhelmed and decrease stress.
- Make a dedicated workspace at home to create healthy boundaries between work life and home life. Choose a space that is filled with natural light, as it increases productivity and lifts your mood.
- Set boundaries. It is just as important to ‘arrive’ at work and ‘leave’ work every day, even when you are working from home. When you leave your home office, leave it and do not look back. Unplugging from your job provides mental relaxation and helps you recharge to be your most productive when you ‘arrive’ at work the following day.
- Meditating and moving your body are both good for your mind. Sit down, close your eyes, and think about your breath as you inhale and exhale. Cardio exercise gets your blood pumping and prompts your brain to release mood-lifting endorphins. PhoenixTeam encourages movement and exercise with a quarterly step challenge offered to employees. We create teams and team members download an app that keeps track of their movement. The team with the most steps gets bragging rights of “The Most Active Team.” This is a fun and creative way to keep employees active. Dedicate as little as 15 minutes a day for this to give your mind a midday break.
- Emotional support during this time can be crucial to mental health. Lean on friends, family and colleagues for emotional support. Reach out to talk about feelings and everyday life occurrences. At our PhoenixTeam daily virtual coffee breaks, team members are empowered to talk, unload feelings or just seek advice from co-team members. Step outside and take a deep breath of fresh air! Keep active with hobbies and activities that make you happy and relaxed.
- Above all else, be kind to yourself! Taking care of you should be your first priority because productivity is not the only measure of success, happiness is just as important.
Life is constant learning and improving ourselves. Life is constant change. In every aspect tomorrow will be different than today, two minutes from now will be different. We cannot predict what will come next and we cannot always shape our reactions to those changes. We can take steps to learn how to repair our mental state, to recognize things before they cause problems, and be our best selves.