Look after your employees – COVID-19 means mental health can no longer be an after-thought

COVID-19 means employee mental health can no longer be an after-thought for any type of business. Employee health and well-being is often an afterthought for businesses. However, all will have to change following the pandemic according to Professor of Management Dr. Argyro Avgoustaki from ESCP Business School.

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Through the radical changes in employees´ work and personal lives and increased uncertainty about the future, COVID-19 has a massive impact on employee wellbeing, especially on mental health.

There have also been rapid changes within employees’ environments – from suddenly working from home, or not at all, or taking care of other family members, each individual has had to endure major upheaval both personally and professionally. This is not only detrimental to the individual, but the business impact of an unwell workforce will also be severe.

“Companies will experience negative employee outcomes such as a decrease in employee satisfaction and commitment and increase in deviant behaviour. They will also experience negative firm outcomes such as lower productivity, sales, and financial performance.” says Dr. Avgoustaki

But how should companies overcome this? If an employee expresses feelings of stress, depression or anxiety, there must be a number of mechanisms in place to address these issues. Ultimately though, companies need to understand and listen to their employees more.

“The times when employers could rely on a one-size-fits all approach are ending, with employees progressively requiring and employers offering more customized arrangements” says Dr. Avgoustaki

We live in an unprecedented time and no one is certain as to what the future holds. What is certain though is that employees will need much greater support from their employers as they continue to work in unstable or uncomfortable environments, and we slowly return to some form of ‘new normal’. This is not only crucial to individual success, but also for businesses as a whole.

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