Mental health and remote work: how and why to strike a balance?

Pablo Baldomá JonesPablo Baldomá Jones

Pablo Baldomá Jones

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Companies must protect their employees' physical and mental health after the pandemic.

Before the start of the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) pointed to mental illness as the leading cause of work absenteeism in the world.

Depression and anxiety were the most frequent ailments. However, they were utterly invisible: the employees did not admit them, and the employers did not want to deal with these illnesses, which translated into an entirely negative circle for health and well-being.

Fortunately, in recent years, everything has changed.

Mental health is a priority.

According to a Microsoft study, 53% of employees prioritize their mental health and well-being over work compared to before the pandemic. If we focus on Latin America, this number rises to 70%.

As the number of workers embracing flexibility is rising, it is also pertinent to understand that flexible working models do not work for all people and professions.

Therefore, companies must offer alternatives that are up to the different demands of their teams and that these are focused on the well-being of each individual in particular.

When we talk about inclusion, the essential thing is for organizations to be capable of generating programs and benefits according to what mothers and fathers need in their day-to-day life, what young people require, what seniors seek, and whether to work in a flexible mode or 100% remote. All strategies must converge on the same point: provide greater well-being.

Flexible work improves people's quality of life.

According to a survey carried out by the financial company WalletHub, 56% of those surveyed said that remote work gives them an "improved quality of life," and 65% said that it allows them to "live more peacefully."

Now, why suddenly are collaborators and companies talking about well-being? Is it that both parties discovered how important it is to be healthy and somewhat calm to be productive?

According to Gartner's 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey, 43% of respondents said flexible work hours helped them achieve higher productivity, and 30% said less or no commute time allowed them to be more productive.

Another vital fact to analyze and plan the evolution of work is that 40% of remote workers say that flexible hours are one of the most significant benefits they enjoy.

Although, at the same time, they emphasize that not meeting a schedule is sometimes detrimental to them.

What should companies do to provide their employees with greater well-being?

The main thing is to listen and understand what each collaborator is going through in their life.

Companies must also motivate their staff to care for their physical and mental health. For this reason, it is advisable to schedule time slots without meetings, give free afternoons, and even block their agendas so that teams can join yoga classes or other disciplines.

Another strategy implemented by some companies is to grant free passes to gym chains so their employees can have options both near the office and at home.

The path of professional development requires a delicate balance between technical knowledge and a relaxed mind; both resources allow people to face everyday challenges with creativity and attitude.

If you don't have a "fresh head," there is no room for innovation or productivity; Therefore, companies must encourage their employees and teams to take care of their minds.

The pandemic taught us the importance of preserving physical and mental health; now that we are gradually getting over its effects, we must not put aside this learning.