While Covid-19 has made work more flexible for some, the pandemic has taken a toll on the mental-wellbeing of many employees as they grapple with longer working hours, and social isolation. Remember the days when you look forward to going to office to catch up with colleagues during lunchtime or coffee breaks? Or the Friday happy hours when you could gripe about your bosses discuss key projects together?
Our workers are feeling the negative impact of work-from-home arrangements regardless of how they feel about returning to office come 2022. But more employers today are placing greater importance on protecting the mental health of workers under pressure. Perhaps that’s the silver lining of this pandemic!
“I used to have more personal space when I commuted to work daily. The extended period of social isolation has also had a negative impact on my social activities. These are fundamental human needs, and I do miss interacting face to face with my friends and colleagues,” Operations director, Mr Chong, is not alone.
A recent survey by software firm Oracle found that nearly seven in 10 residents in Singapore said this year has been the most stressful one at work. Not surprising at all… Speaking at the launch of the inaugural Workplace Mental Well-being earlier this month, Senior Minister of State for Manpower Mr Zaqy Mohamad shares his hope that more people will realise that dealing with workplace mental well-being is a shared responsibility between employer and employee. In fact, many organisations, including the public service, have created chatbots, portals and websites for employees to tap reliable resources and best practices in mental health!
The Workplace Mental Well-being Campaign 2021
Spearheaded by the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council, The Workplace Mental Well-being Campaign 2021 aims to create greater awareness while encouraging co-ownership of mental well-being between employers and employees. At the ceremony, Mr Zaqy unveiled a mental well-being playbook.
It features easy and practical guides on how to implement workplace mental well-being initiatives.
“Employees should surface issues to their employers, and employers should support their employees, because work can be good for mental well-being, and mental well-being is good for work”
Labour MP Mr Melvin Yong said he was heartened that the WSH Council has launched the campaign to encourage employees and employers to take time to care for their mental health.
“Let us do our part to safeguard the mental well-being of our workers by allowing them to disconnect after work, so that we can all be well rested and be productive for the next work day,” added Mr Yong. This Labour MP had also previously mooted the concept of a “Right To Disconnect” law in Parliament on several occasions. He shared that a “Right To Disconnect” law would allow for employers and employees to negotiate the protocol for non-emergency calls and non-critical emails outside of working hours.
Now, remember that investing in the mental well-being of workers is not only beneficial for workers, but for businesses as well. Let’s hope that this crisis of a lifetime can bring about meaningful change for the workers of Singapore!