Last week marked the celebration of World Mental Health Day, which should remind us all of the importance that emotional well-being must play in our daily lives. In this time of convergence where technology and workplace culture are transforming in extraordinary ways, it’s incredibly important to take this time and explore some of the real mechanics of mental health around the future of work. With this profound shift from an in-person corporate culture, to a hybrid culture, to an all-remote corporate culture, organizations need to consider what is needed to follow management practices and change the way employees manage this new reality.
The role of mental health is and will continue to be a cornerstone of corporate strategy. It is essential to the development and creation of a healthy environment, both in the workplace and in its virtual counterpart. Yet in this time of change, leaders need to focus on tactics that will both enable them to have a better employer-employee relationship and shape a more desired work culture to increase retention rates. To do this, let’s start from a fundamental ingredient of the new corporate culture of the digital age, the role of stress. No one would claim that work stress didn’t exist in the past, but we are now facing new challenges that were unimaginable just ten years ago. The work environment is effecting a fundamental change that provides new elements of tension and anxiety that we are only beginning to understand. As we began to move away from a singular model of a centralized work environment toward elements of remote and hybrid work, new stressors began to reveal themselves, creating a wave of new challenges that organizations must to face.
One of the most noticeable shifts in work culture is that the separation of family life and work life is being diluted. This substantial change creates new pressures and worries that we are only beginning to uncover. Certainly, working from home has many benefits, but as we’re starting to see in the data, there are new stressors that need to be addressed. The basic idea of community and the development of building culture as we know it has changed. If companies are to find new opportunities for growth, they must tackle these pressing issues head-on.
So where to start ? As businesses see an increase in mental health and wellness issues, it’s important to rethink the role of the community. When looking at the different characteristics of workforce culture, whether internal, hybrid or fully virtual, it’s essential to think about the power of connection. If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that the lack of connection has hampered our ability to operate at full capacity. Leadership needs to re-create the culture building mechanism where all the different worker silos can feel connected and explore what is truly needed in their specific work situation.
The role of the Employee Resource Group (ERG) will play a more fundamental role in this new culture shift. In many ways, it will serve as a glue for all these active people and can offer the services needed to deal with the new stressors that are part of this changing work culture. Business leaders and affinity groups need to reassess the benefits of their constituency and how they continue to grow in these changing times. The ERG will also provide a direct line through the company. Developing a mental health and wellness affinity group is another way to provide a direct line to solidify more effective relationships between the C-suite and employees to find better solutions to workplace stress and anxieties. this new work environment.
As this culture shift materializes in real time, organizations must begin to pay greater attention to employee demands across generational divides and define new ways to best manage the nature of mental health. Next Mindset matters column, we’ll continue to delve deeper into the nuances of designing a healthy work culture and what’s needed for a larger-scale device to the nuances of the individual.
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