Among the many changes and challenges that have been brought about by the pandemic, has been the adjustment of working from home. Barring a few specific jobs, many others have turned to remote-working. Offices are making sure that by socially-distancing their employees, they are keeping them from spreading the virus — a cure for which still needs to be found.
But, this new system has also brought about some uncomfortable adjustments that employees are having to deal with at the cost of their mental well-being. Mindfulness teacher, zen practitioner, author and regional lead at Google-born Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI), Gopi Krishnaswamy, says time has become a bit blurred as “earlier routines have been compromised”. “Working odd hours — sometimes between episodes on Netflix — compromising on ‘family time’ and ‘me time’, has resulted in diluting the sanctity of each area.”
For years, homemakers have worked at home, from home and from offices as well, as they have juggled multiple workplaces skillfully — while managing their bosses, colleagues, children, parents, in-laws, and perhaps even a spouse who did much less, he says.
“Families have also been thrown together and restricted into a space that was earlier only called ‘home’. Now, we spend most of our waking hours at ‘work’ or ‘office’, which is also our ‘home’. While we wanted to go back to children and spouses after a long day of work, we have now come to discover that our kids are not quite the angels we thought them to be — and we wait for the day they can safely go back to school,” Krishnaswamy continues.
He goes on to warn that the fallout of this could range from sleeplessness to anxiety, chronic fatigue, lack of focus, substance abuse, anger, drop in immunity, failing relationships and even depression and suicide.
As such, how are we supposed to cope with all these mental health challenges that have been created by the ‘new workplace’?
* To start with, each of us needs to develop a better understanding of the importance of good mental health.
* We also need to understand its intricate connection with our physical and emotional health.
* Having a routine, discipline and structure including a work desk, specific timings and time away from screens is important.
* Leverage practices like yoga and meditation/mindfulness to develop good mental health.
* Build more empathy and be more kind and compassionate towards ourselves and others.
“These are far from exhaustive. As individuals, companies, and governments, we need to understand that mental health has never been more important. Workplaces have transformed. And addressing the challenges at the new workplace today is the right way to go,” Krishnaswamy concludes.