The pandemic has forced employers from various industries to respond quickly by making their employees work remotely on the spot and easing their concerns and stress, stated Soulamia Gourani of business news Forbes. Everyone will be forced to live the new normal as the economy reopens. The future is uncertain and employers and businesses need to acknowledge long-term changes, helping their employees adjust to a post-pandemic lifestyle.
A Survey On Employees’ Mental Wellness
SHRM, a professional human resources membership association, conducted a survey from April 15 to April 16 involving 1,099 US employees sourced from Prolific, an online panel. The report found that 35% of employees often experienced symptoms of feeling tired or having little energy (versus 32% of those who experienced these symptoms sometimes).
23% often experienced feeling bad about themselves, feeling like a failure, or feeling they have let themselves down or their family (versus 21%). 23% often felt down, depressed, or hopeless (versus 31%) while 22% had little interest or pleasure in doing things (versus 29%) or had trouble concentrating on things (versus 25%).
66% of those who reported feeling like a failure were respondents who lived with at least one member of a vulnerable population. 65% of respondents who had trouble concentrating are those who live with a member of a vulnerable population. Between generations, 31% of Gen Z said they had trouble concentrating, followed by Gen X (23%), Millennials (21%), and Baby Boomers (11%). Likewise, women (54%) were more likely than men (45%) to report often having trouble concentrating on things.
Women were also more likely (56%) to say than men (43%) that they are tired or don’t have much energy. Between generations, 44% of Gen Z were more likely to report tiredness/lack of energy compared to 35% of Millennials, 33% of Gen X, and 26% of Boomers. To help respondents deal with depression-related symptoms, 42% reached out to their family and friends, 11% reached out to their co-workers, and 7% consulted a mental health professional.
Sadly, 37% of employees had not done anything to cope with the symptoms of depression. 41% said they feel burned out from their work while 45% felt emotionally drained from their work. Consistent with other findings, Gen Z (51%) were more likely than Baby Boomers (24%) to feel burned out. Gen Z employees (47%) were more likely to feel emotionally drained from work compared to Millennials (43%), Gen X (32%), and Baby Boomers (29%).
31% of employees said the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened their personal opportunities, including pay and benefits (28%), job security (24%), and safe working conditions (22%). 53% of employees stated that their relationships with their co-workers have not been harmed at all while 65% said their relationship with their supervisor has not been harmed at all.
What Will the Workplace Look Like Post-Pandemic?
There will be an influx of new talent so businesses can use this opportunity to invest in their workplace culture. The right workspace culture and setup inspire and allow workers to utilize their time in the office or home office. Employers can invest in employee wellness or allocate resources for employees’ at-home workstations.
“Workplace culture has a decisive role in shaping employee experience,” said Oztanık and Satıroğlu, co-founders at Assembly Buildings. Altering the customary office culture will boost employee confidence and make workers more creative, allowing them to produce great results. Assembly Buildings’ co-founders added that as common practice, private companies and commercial property buildings will provide a tailored set of remote working infrastructure, physical spaces, interactive programs, service offerings, and wellbeing products.
We will get to see businesses, employees, and building owners enjoying a “mix and match portfolio approach,” the co-founders emphasized. This can include an HQ office, satellite offices, and remote working options to offer professionals a “customized, high caliber user experience while optimizing office expenses by up to 50%."
How Can Employers and Businesses Reshape the Workspace?
1. Put Themselves In Their Employees’ Shoes
Employers should foster good employee experience by mirroring their firm’s best customer experience, recommended Jeanne Meister of Forbes. They can use tools like design thinking and employee journey mapping to understand customer experience. Since some employees are choosing to permanently work from home, business leaders need to design and evaluate how they will link employees’ experience with their organization’s culture.
2. Listen to Their Employees
Listening helps business leaders understand what employees want and expect from a virtual and physical workspace. Companies regularly conduct surveys to gain feedback on factors such as company culture, performance management, and investment in learning and development.
Presently, businesses need to include questions on employees’ expectations about new ways of working. Employers should also perceive employee listening as a campaign to include virtual focus groups, as well as other ways to connect with workers at an emotional level.
3. Emphasize Mental Health
Workplace wellness is not only confined to physical health. Nowadays, employee wellbeing includes a combination of spiritual, emotional, physical, financial, and mental wellbeing. For example, some organizations like PwC are taking strides to transcend wellbeing as an abstract concept by offering tangible habits to help workers take care of their health.
Employers should also find ways for their workers to learn new skills such as personal and professional self-management and how to stay focused while remote working, suggested Fernanda Neis and Gustavo Oliveira experts at the DeRose Meditation. Other skills may include how to build trust in virtual relationships and cope with increased levels of anxiety caused by uncertainty.
4. Leverage Agile Methods
There will be challenges surrounding new hire onboarding, new manager orientation, or internal mobility. Hence, it is recommended for business leaders to design for the sake of “optimal experience” and not only to address an issue.
Leaders should also ground and correlate the employee experience to the purpose and values of the organizations as workers seek the assistance of their employers to adjust to the new normal. This is important because employees are adjusting from office to remote work set-ups. Some of them are also transitioning to becoming new parents, managers, and leaders.
Tal Gilbert, CEO of Vitality USA, said the way business leaders treat their employees during the outbreak will define what type of employer they are, which will affect employee loyalty, motivation, and employee and customer satisfaction.
Employers and businesses also need to adjust to the new normal by investing in employee experience. This can include mental health and professional management programs and flexible work arrangements. Overall, employee experience will determine how well business leaders treat their workers during the pandemic.