The restriction measures established by the health emergency for Covid-19 will begin to be lifted little by little, allowing companies to gradually return to their daily activities.
The Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) carried out the Covid-19 Checklist – Return to Work, which allows the business or workplace to prepare a situational diagnosis of the conditions, equipment, resources and necessary materials that must be considered, in order to guarantee the safe return of its workers.
But what about the emotional part of the human resource? How will companies take care of the emotional health of their employees, even those who will remain working remotely?
According to a study by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), 85% of Mexican organizations do not have the right conditions so that its collaborators have a balance between personal life and work, which favors physical and psychological disorders, which translate into productivity problems for companies.
Estimates of International Labor Organization (ILO), point out that 4% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is lost annually due to stress, depression and anxiety generated by work, which go hand in hand with workplace accidents.
So what actions should companies be taking to create an emotionally healthy environment for their collaborators after the pandemic?
The most important thing is the emotional management of the workers
Before the pandemic hit Mexico, the Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare had already issued the Official Mexican Standard NOM-35, whose main objective is to establish the elements to identify, analyze and prevent psychosocial risk factors in workers.
Also, it promotes a favorable organizational environment in the workplace. However, with the arrival of the Covid-19, this topic became especially important, especially for those responsible for human resources.
“With the isolation factor, as individuals we have exposure to greater contact with our emotions and situations that expose us to issues of anxiety, depression and coupled with the uncertainty generated by the pandemic, the tendency to fall into crisis simply increases”Annel Lozano, deputy director in Be Well Health Strategy of Lockton México.
Everything affects productivity
The expert points out that the crisis caused by the virus also affects the productivity of employees, making the issue of emotional employee management a priority for companies.
On the other hand, Norma Godínez, director of Human Resources at Kelly Services, he told Business Insider Mexico that today more than ever is the time to rethink the strategies.
“Today, the safety of employees must be first, we must focus on the mental, emotional health and physics of our employees and also train leaders, whom we must convince that this should be the priority of companies from now on, “he says.
For Lozano, this issue has an important impact, both in productivity and in the service provided, directly impacting business.
“A work environment that does not take into account the psychosocial well-being of its employees can have a considerable impact on productivity, affecting job performance, commitment and quality of work,” he says.
How to help the collaborator?
According to the findings of the UNAM Faculty of MedicineIf a person works 11 hours a day, he is twice as likely to suffer depression, and if he works for 55 hours a week, his risk of having a heart attack is 33% higher.
Besides, the World Health Organization (WHO) Burnout Syndrome, or wear due to overwork, has been classified as a disease which can occur in either remote or face-to-face work.
“One of the important strategies is that as a company the psychosocial risks of the environment are adapted, since most of the collaborators who are at home are exposed to different risks in terms of stress, anxiety, depression.
“Likewise, working hours have been extended and this means that some employees may have a decrease in terms of productivity and effectiveness in their work,” said Annel Lozano.
Thus, based on these risks, both the deputy director in Health Strategy Be Well of Lockton México as Norma Godínez, Director of Human Resources at Kelly Services, present some strategies that companies can implement to seek the physical and emotional well-being of their collaborators.
1. Recognize the needs of each worker
Being clear about what the work environment is like and how it can be adapted to promote an improvement in the mental health of different employees will be essential.
“We must recognize the needs of each worker in order to be very timely with the solutions,” says Annel Lozano.
2. That companies work effectively to provide psychological care services
This can be done through providers of employee care programs, either via telephone or through virtual platforms.
“The budgets of the companies are definitely going to change. Today they must invest in the well-being of human capital, from the protection material, to looking for alternatives, that of psychosocial support ”, stated Norma Godínez.
3. Better organization of work
Establish workload management policies, effective hours, leadership management, an assertive approach towards new communication trends and above all, strengthening the link with engagement programs within the company towards employees, suggests Annel Lozano.
“Flexibility of schedules and agendas, so that we are focusing on the well-being of people and the company at the same time,” says Godínez.
“We must understand this part that the home office also has its challenges, and an issue of staggering hours, for example, can be very useful for employees, who in turn are grateful and committed to the company,” he adds. Godínez.
4. Work with ergonomics issues to help employees improve their work environment at home
“Understand that the collaborators’ house also became another area of the company, and that helping the worker to make this space optimal and to have the necessary tools, such as a laptop, good-speed internet and the right conditions for Working will also be something companies need to start worrying about, ”said Kelly Services’ director of human resources.
5. Do the diagnostic phase again with the employees indicated by NOM-035
“We are facing a totally different scenario from last year. This will ensure that employees are in good condition and psychological care can be provided if necessary, ”recommends Deputy Director of Health Strategy Be Well of Lockton Mexico.
6. Emotional support for employees
Establish general strategies such as mindfulness and stress management, talks on resilience issues.
Even strengthening meditation or active pause strategies within workspaces have been quite effective in reducing psychological stress.
7. Learn from the motivations of the organization’s managers and employees who have taken action
Do not reinvent the wheel and look at the measures taken by other companies.
Favorable organizational environment on return to workplaces
In addition to emotional treatment, it will be important for companies to establish criteria that focus on job security, for this it is necessary to adhere to the protocols established by the IMSS and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security for the return to work centers.
It is also recommended to train employees for the management of facilities and dining rooms.
“Companies must establish guidelines for the operation of medical systems and provide resources so that, in the event that any worker has any health issue, or suspicious cases in their family or an epidemiological outbreak arises, they can have the appropriate mechanisms to be able to effectively communicate it to the human resources areas », assures Annel Lozano.
“Above all, have punctual monitoring programs for employees during their adaptation to the new normal,” Annel Lozano concludes.
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