With the drastic changes taking place globally through the pandemic, the mental health of many people started significantly deteriorating. With changes taking place in almost all aspects of human life, many were constantly anxious because they were unsure about the virus and how it affected everyone. Over the last year, the UK went through three significant lockdowns, with businesses and companies forced to shut down temporarily. According to WHO, COVID-19 disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93% of countries with the demand for mental health only increasing.
Businesses and companies were unsure about meeting their deadlines and targets, especially because they had to keep shutting doors and having staff work remotely whenever that was a possibility. Additionally, when it came to the people getting sick, although there were restrictions about wearing masks and maintaining social distance in most parts of the world, people were catching it. While precautions helped, there was nothing major that could prevent it.
What were the steps most were taking to assist people during the pandemic?
While people were not leaving their homes, for the most part, they were spending time remote working or on other hobbies. The inability of people to meet others made the social experiment a lot more challenging.
Companies were now bringing therapists on board to assist people with the challenges they faced through the pandemic. Additionally, many opened their doors to smaller numbers of people as soon as they raised restrictions. Most places had to lower the number of people coming in because they had to redesign and respace to maintain social distance, so everyone was safe. Furthermore, some companies were recommending using meditation apps to help people calm down and focus. UiPath gave 2,800 employees free access to the meditation app, Headspace. Additionally, some companies who were working with online therapists to assist throughthe COVID-19 pandemic. Mentalhealth played an important part in making sure employees were properly looked after and productive.
What were the causes of anxiety and improper mental health during the pandemic?
There were multiple causes of anxiety and mental unrest, with people just receiving an overdose of information regularly, which upset them, keeping them in suspense. According to a report in the United States, 70% of news was negative, and the channels focused on airing the same content more often, compared to positive options.
The constant supply of information on the number of people who passed away because of COVID, a statistic constantly increasing caused a lot of distress. Additionally, the uncertainty of a situation, the feeling of helplessness when there is nothing that anyone can do while people are doing their best, following protocols, and still caught the virus.
With the new work from home mandates, people got as much done from their houses as possible. However, they had to compartmentalise their job and personal life because most found no divisions anymore. People had to restart working with fixed schedules because they could not give a steady time for work, with their personal life constantly bleeding in, regularly bombarded with personal errands, chores, and so much more. Additionally, they scheduled work meetings at convenient timings for everyone, which meant work hours were an illusion.
The inability to leave their houses for the most part and interact with other people was a requirement and quite challenging to come across during the pandemic. While most were getting through work meetings, client meetings and talking to their loved ones who could not come home because they were working in the healthcare sector, others had to get their therapy online because they could not meet for fear of the virus spreading.
What were the changes they came up with to improve productivity?
Through the pandemic and remote working, most companies and employers mentioned seeing a significant decrease in productivity, unlike pre-pandemic. Many factors could be responsible, but they had to reinvent the wheel if they expected any results that would benefit across the board. According to a study, it was easier for most teams of people to collaborate better in person. They could create and work through new ideas while in the same room, and while virtual meetings provided a similar approach, it was not the same.
Making sure that their staff were physically, mentally and emotionally healthy was a good start. Many companies were now pushing and locking slots for meetings which made the process a lot more convenient. Additionally, they could complete the work whenever convenient as long as they were meeting their deadlines.
There were more individual changes that they had to get through, and these depended on the position that they were working. People sitting at desks and getting most of their work done had to start getting some exercise. There were other habits and changes that arose with the new work from home lifestyle, like improper eating habits, fast and unhealthy meals, and random eating and sleeping schedules.
What were the changes in the employment process?
With the type of work that they were going through, employers and the HR departments had to make sure that they were picking the right people for the job. With large scale unemployment in most parts of the world and remote working, even job interviews were remote, so those hiring had to make sure that they were picking the right people. Background checks started turning into the new norm. In the past, these checks were conducted at random with few people from the company getting their history sifted through for a criminal record check. Now, providing a background check was turning into what seemed like a mandatory requirement. To save time and hasten the application process, people were conducting their background checks through a reputed third-party platform when they were coming in for their interview.
When it came to most of the companies and businesses that were functional during the pandemic, they were essential services that implied that they interacted with the public. The change meant that they had to be careful on two fronts, making sure they were following the COVID protocols and that there were no rules that prevented them from interacting with one another. Some background checks meant that they could not speak and communicate with another person, especially the older or youngest sections of society. People could even get an enhanced background check to make sure they could get along with certain age groups.