The health crisis and lockdown caused by COVID-19 have increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression. According to a survey conducted by the Universidad Iberoamericana in mid-2020, 3 in 10 Mexicans showed symptoms of physical or emotional stress. Job bank OCC Mundial reported that 55% of employees in Mexico show increased levels of stress and burnout due to telecommuting and concerns about isolation.
In this context, all areas of life are affected, whether their effects are obvious or not, so companies are faced with new challenges to act with empathy, take care of the emotional health of their employees and at the same time promote productivity responsibly.
According to Paola Rubio, personal development consultant and specialist at the Institut d’Aprende on issues of emotional intelligence, “the factors that converge for this situation are multiple, complex and require a support network and actions to deal with it. “. He lists them as follows:
Factors intrinsic to COVID-19. This includes the fear of catching it or spreading it to others; confuse the symptoms of other health problems; the near and world news on the subject. Traumatic experience and loss. Farewell to loved ones or loved ones plus a crushed, lonely or unassisted mourning process; as well as the feeling of helplessness and the effect of not being able to be an emotional support for others; for example, support before a loss. Economic and labor tension. Salary cuts, loss of revenue streams, shrinking teams with more workloads and the disappearance of clear schedules for remote workers, or the stress of relocation in a large industry that cannot do remote work. Tension at home. The problems linked to the house itself and to the coexistence of multiple activities outside common hours are added; or for example, where you live, you study and work. For some, the care of young children or older adults has even been added, for whom they have no outside support. The isolation itself. Less time outdoors, reduced physical activity, and reduced activity options. Only the lack of exposure to the sun can cause a decrease in vitamin D, which can affect the immune system and even trigger future bone diseases and other illnesses. Technostrs. According to the Coordination of Organizational Psychology of the Faculty of Psychology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), 75% of Mexican workers suffer from “Technostrs”, which refers to the discomfort derived from the introduction and l use of new technologies at work. More specifically, it is a bad adaptation to deal with new technologies in a healthy way. Today, this disease has skyrocketed three times more than before the pandemic.
“It triggers increased levels of anxiety, stress, depression and loneliness. We need to actively work on the emotional part and be empathetic while recognizing that not all situations are the same, some people can work. at home, some not .; Some of the kids have online lessons, some have only a television as a guide. There is no one answer to the changes the pandemic can bring in children. people, but it is important that dealing with the problems does not happen alone, ”explains the specialist.
According to the Pan American Health Organization, negative psychological effects of confinement include confusion, anger, exhaustion, detachment, anxiety, impaired performance, and resistance to work, which could even lead to strain. post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
“In the current context, where the border between work and home is disappearing, companies have the responsibility to also be a support mechanism for their employees by providing them with resources that allow them to have professional support and tools to work on their emotional health and the health of their loved ones, ”says Felipe Bedoya, vice president of sales for Latin America at Aprende Institute.
According to the manager, all companies can work on employee support programs. “There are some who already had emotional support plans and found new channels to deliver them. But there are perks like gyms, travel or the like that have been replaced by online resources focused on emotional support to employees. action and also translates into increased worker productivity, improved collective performance and increased retention of talent. Companies that offer these devices are more valued by employees, and some solutions will be established as superior to traditional advantages and will be consolidated within the framework of the permanent offer of advantages ”, underlines Bedoya.
According to the Aprende Institute for Companies, among the actions that human resources experts can implement to support their employees in a crisis such as the current one, we can cite:
Communication and empathy. It is important to recognize that each employee faces different situations. To the extent that they can meet, connect, and respond, an organization can better support and get the most out of a person. According to Paola Rubio: “a person should feel supported by their team and during a video call (in many other cases) not feel the pressure of having to activate their camera, stop taking care of their new one- born, or hear different noises, and that is respect and understanding of each other. “Environment of trust and flexibility. If the business can create a clear environment for asynchronous work, it can foster a calmer environment, reduce emergencies, and involve employees in decision making and process improvement. Individual support tools. Either through direct work sessions with therapists, conferences or online courses for the development of emotional intelligence and in the acquisition of new tools.
“We have seen great interest in online courses and degrees in the areas of personal wellness (wellness, mindfulness, nutrition, gastronomy and other skills beyond those directly related to a field of work; and that is why we launched Learn for Business, with a greater focus on practical courses, which do not require a commitment of several months, which has been highly appreciated by companies and their employees ”, concludes Martn Claure, CEO and founder of the Aprende Institute.