Workplace Mental Health amidst COVID19
COVID19 pandemic could have been the thing of the past, but the psychological and mental health effects of it may linger over time. Constant monitoring and continuous surveillance of public emotional and psychosocial health status would therefore be urgent from now on. The mental health effect that it poses may emerge in the form of anxiety, or cause physical damage, or even disrupt family and social relationship. To some people, it affects their own life, by hindering the establishment of good quality life. At some point of time, they may feel they have missed something in their life, with no idea about what and why, and the future would never be the same as before the pandemic strikes. Even terrifying when we start to believe that the pandemic would not fade away from our lives for the next 5 years, as has been reported. Therefore, it is the responsibility of ourselves, to combat and prevent our loved ones from being a victim of the situation.
The virus has caused the pandemic and the disease known as COVID19, has impacted every corner of our life, resulting in universal psychosocial damages. It not only challenges our earlier or existing conception about disease and infection, but also our view on how to survive economically and financially, and in our way of dealing with it, emotionally and socially. Similarly, in the wake of the pandemic, our views of how work and jobs should be organized, implemented and monitored has changed tremendously. Accordingly, this has also affected how workplace mental health is conceptualized, and may need to be reconceptualised, because the need and demand of the job and how work is delivered has currently changed. Mental health and psychosocial health need and demand is a prerequisite and indispensable part of a well-organized and systematic workplace functioning nowadays.
Incidental to the understanding of the need and demand of workplace mental health is the belief that every member is important to the organization’s wellbeing and success. Similarly, members also feel the same, that they are important to themselves and to the company, and aware that their existence and contribution is crucial to the success of every well managed organization. Accordingly, every member in the organization should have the same feeling and understand that they need to contribute and that their contribution is well received and recognized in a good manner. It is not only about how we see ourselves and other members as important to the company, but also how we talk and walk the sense of recognition, acceptance, and appreciation to other fellows in the organization, unconditionally and nonjudgmentally. Only then this would bring a sense of respect and love. This has always been the key in social life and organizational activities as Allah says in the al Quran, in Chapter al Hujurat, verse 11 means: O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.
Upon this, further step of promoting mental health in the workplace would be well accepted by every member of the organization, and the organisation’s objectives can be achieved because everybody respects the laws, company’s procedures and management standards of the organizations.
However, amidst COVID19 pandemic, the mental health needs and demand are now centralized to the new normal kind of things. With working environment and new procedures taking place in the organization following the movement control orders and recovery plans, the workplace mental health needs and management must therefore follow suit. We understand that not all companies and organizations are well versed and literate about mental health, but awareness and campaigns are on their way.
Here are some of the things that need to be considered when dealing with mental health issues during the pandemic. Members of the organization may find that some of their fellow colleagues now have a high level of anxiety and intolerant towards the surroundings to the extent of developing paranoid thinking. Some may even develop symptoms of panic, lethargy and burn out, difficulty in sleeping, socially awkward and loneliness. The organization’s ability to recognize the psychosocial changes can help and is a good start in promoting healing and stability. Physical health and safety must always be the number one priority in any organization, similarly, mental health challenges and proactive management during this pandemic should never be marginalized either.