Merge's Blog

Is mental health addressed in your post-pandemic re-launch strategy?

Robert Manolson is a professional colleague and an avid mental health champion who facilitates workshop presentations to business leaders on the importance of starting honest conversations about mental health at work.  It’s been a while since he last guested on the blog.  The last time he was here, his post was on Does your employee health and wellness policy include fun at work?  Which is why I’m delighted that he’s back once again.  Today, he takes on a critically important subject in our post-pandemic world – the need to keep mental health on our collective radar screens as people and businesses return to work.  While Robert’s post specifically addresses what Alberta is doing, I’d ask you to consider what it means for your company no matter what province or state  you are in.

What Is Not Being Talked About During Alberta’s Re-Launch Strategy

I can appreciate that business leaders everywhere are in a very DIFFERENT place today as compared to where they were at, pre-COVID. This is totally expected!! We’re all looking at the world of work through a DIFFERENT lens these days. In her recent Globe and Mail article, Merge Gupta-Sunderji is quoted as saying, “As the temporary pandemic restrictions start lifting in many areas of the country, it is clear that the world of work is nothing like what it was before. What we thought was the “new” normal has become the “now” normal, subject to repeated mutations and variations.” So, what does this actually look like?

  1. We know that business leaders continue to monitor the situation through timely updates, constant changes in information, and ongoing directives from public health experts.
  2. We also know that business leaders are prioritizing the “business” of reopening workplaces while everyone is actively involved in ensuring that protocols are in place for health and safety purposes.
  3. The “business” of reopening has also resulted in the organizing and reorganizing of detailed plans in order to lay out “employee back to work/work at home” arrangements.

But something important is missing!

While I cannot dispute these action plans as being a top priority to get people working again, my deep concern is the complete absence of any plan to address the “business” of psychological health and safety in the workplace.

The absence of any concrete plan on paper from leaders of organizations large and small, for profit and not for profit is, simply put, dangerous. And in my view, highly irresponsible. Why? As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to negatively impact our overall daily mental health, people everywhere are starting conversations around the potential problems that we can expect at work and at home.

In fact, just recently The Conference Board of Canada and the Mental Health Commission of Canada partnered to explore the impact of COVID-19 on mental health. “Between April 27 and May 15, 2020, we conducted a mental health pulse-check and received responses from 1,804 Canadians. We looked at the pro-social, at-risk, and helping-seeking coping strategies that they used.”  A link to the article is right here.

Your homework is to keep What Is Not Being Talked About During Alberta’s Re-Launch Strategy top of mind and to email me. What can YOU do to start the conversation and address the “business” of psychological health and safety in your workplace? I will respond to you.

Reach Robert either by commenting below right here in the blog, or if you wish, by emailing him directly at robert@powerfulplay.ca

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