Organizations today face increasing levels of stress and burnout with employees. In this post-COVID-19 pandemic phase where many companies were forced to pivot, employees at all levels faced a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world in every aspect of their lives.
Additionally, the uncertainty we are experiencing at a social, economic, and political level worsens the situation. No doubt that we live in complex and provocative times while the way we work is rapidly changing.
Regarding the effects of the pandemic on mental health, an observational study developed by Ricardo Jorge Institute, in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine of Lisbon and the Portuguese Society of Psychiatry and Mental Health, concluded with high values in the assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of the population, highlighting:
- 33.7% of psychological suffering.
- 27% moderate or severe anxiety.
- 26.5% post-traumatic stress.
- 26.4% moderate to severe depression.
- 25.2% burnout.
These numbers get worse when we consider the subgroup of those individuals that went through a quarantine, an isolation or a recovery process from COVID19, with 72% of psychological suffering, 56% of depression, 36% of anxiety and 43% of post-traumatic stress.
Burnout levels have increased due to the pandemic, no doubt about it. But this is not a new challenge for employees and organizations. It was 2019 when the World Health Organization (WHO) officially identified burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” and described it “as resulting from chronic workplace stress which is not successfully managed“. Thus, developing strategies to manage stress is essential to our ability to cope with challenges and our ability to be resilient.
Nevertheless, there are also good news. According to numerous studies around the world, emotional intelligence and mindfulness training can help individuals successfully manage stress, cultivate resilience, increase employment engagement, and even strengthen the response of the immune system.
The WHO is crystal clear on the best way at hand to move forward. Two WHO publications offer a straightforward answer. The “WHO guidelines on mental health at work” says: “Universally delivered psychosocial interventions aimed at developing the skills of employees in Stress management – such as mindfulness-based interventions or cognitive-behavioral approaches – can be considered in promoting positive mental health, reducing emotional distress and improving work effectiveness“. On the other hand, the “Doing What Matters in Times of Stress: An Illustrated Guide” provide some tips on how to do it.
The School of We highly recommends you read these important publications by WHO.