I’m really starting to become concerned about mental health in the workplace. People – those who actually have jobs – are generally working way too much, because work expands to the time allotted. This especially applies to many people who are working from home. So one part of my concern is overwork.
And for those who don’t have jobs, studies and surveys are starting to show stress is increasing as more and more businesses reopen and rehire. Am I going to be safe at work?
The other part of it is: everybody’s completely stressed out. This is a trauma. It’s not like you can go home and get away from the stuff that’s going on at work, and you can’t go to work to get away from the stuff that’s going on at home. As a result, you’re worried 24/7, regardless of where you are. The days of work being a refuge from the troubles at home, or home being a refuge from your problems at work are gone, at least for now.
It’s not like you can go home and get away from the stuff that’s going on at work, and you can’t go to work to get away from the stuff that’s going on at home
We’ve been living this life non-stop for three months now. It’s really important to encourage all of your employees to take some time off. Even if they have to go home for a day and they have to watch their kids, it’s time away from something.
At a minimum, people need to change the scenery. You absolutely should be taking a day off, or a mental health day or whatever you want to call it. But my big concern coming back to work is, people are going to be so stressed out they’re not going to know what to do.
Sometimes you have to force quiet time for yourself. Yesterday, I bought everyone on my team the Calm App. They seem to be over the top with it; they especially liked the gesture, the intent with which it was given. Anytime you can make a change, it’s good, whether it’s adding meditation or it’s getting away from this or that. You’ve got to make a change because otherwise, every day is the same. Monotony is unhealthy.
We’ve all been traumatized, even if you don’t think or act like you’ve been traumatized. We may not feel it all right now, but sooner or later we’re going to feel it.
So don’t wait for a holiday. Don’t wait for that Friday when you want to take a random day off. It’s important to just a break. So it’s OK to take a Wednesday off. Sometimes Wednesdays are the best day because it breaks up the middle of the week. Work two days, off one day, work two more days and then it’s the weekend.
Showing Tangible Gratitude, Inexpensively
It doesn’t cost your company a dime to give somebody a day off. It would be amazing if you said to every employee: “You know what? To thank you for doing all you’ve been doing, we’re giving everybody one free extra day of paid time off to be taken by a certain day. We want to schedule it so we have appropriate staffing, of course, but we want to give you this gift to thank you for how hard you’ve been working.
That gesture costs you nothing to do, and it will be greatly appreciated by your teams.
Valuing What We Value
We are valuing today what we took for granted yesterday. It’s little things – being able to go to the beach or a restaurant, or hug your friends. Perhaps one positive arising out of this crisis is that we won’t take so many things for granted in the future.