Workplace stress is not a new thing, but the pandemic brought extra challenges to employees already feeling overwhelmed, burnt out and undervalued. In addition to this, being isolated at home meant there was a lack of support from colleagues and bosses during what was a frightening and strange time.
This community support is essential to maintaining good mental health, and as such, is the theme of this year’s Stress Awareness Month campaign, taking place this April.
A spokesperson for Stress Management Society, which has run the initiative since 1992, said: “A community is much more than just a group of people. It’s about having a sense of belonging and connection to others and feel supported and accepted by them.”
They added: “A lack of community support can result in feelings of social isolation and loneliness.”
Therefore, it is unsurprising that many people felt incredibly lonely during the pandemic when they were forced to work from home, were unable to see family or friends for months on end, and had to put a stop to all their social engagements.
“The pandemic has had a hugely detrimental effect on the nation’s mental health and sense of community,” it was added. However, the organisation is hopeful that people can do their bit to be there for each other more now Covid restrictions are lifting.
When it comes to feeling lonely, anxious or frightened in the workplace, Adrian Lewis, commercial director at Active People HR, told HR News that employers need to be aware of the difficulties some employees might currently be facing and support those who they suspect to be suffering.
By opening up conversations about mental health at work, encouraging employees to chat through issues during meetings, and introducing Fridays’ drinks or coffee mornings, this can help alleviate feelings of loneliness and bring back the idea of ‘community’.
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