The global health crisis, aside from causing millions of deaths, has also affected the mental wellness of many. The challenges of working from home and uncertainties about the future understandably has been causing people to experience varying degrees of stress, depression and anxiety which in turn has seen significant impact on the Singaporean labour market.
From worrying about loved ones getting sick or dying, the uncertainties of lockdowns, to the sudden shifts of consumer spending behaviours, many factors contribute to the staggering decline in employee and employer morale. It has resulted in a phenomenon now dubbed “The Great Resignation” or the “Big Quit”. It suggests that 1 in 4 Singaporeans have either quit their jobs or are contemplating doing so in the first quarter of 2022.
Work-From-Home Solution is Not a Panacea to Pandemic Workforce Challenges
The sudden shift to WFH during the pandemic’s peak was successful in a lot of ways. It kept employees safe by reducing the opportunities for an outbreak happening in the office environment while ensuring continued productivity.
Social interaction is a basic human need.
However, the long-term viability of WFH has always been questioned. The office was, after all, the bastion of productivity for a reason. Some employees crave the collaborative and social aspects of the office. The separation of workplace and living space may also contribute to an employee’s productivity and motivation in the sense that they’re more productive in the office because of geographical and visual separation. The ambiance of a bustling office, for example, is starkly different from that of one’s home where we all typically use for relaxation and to spend time with family.
WFH introduces frustrating logistical issues.
Logistical problems also persist. Device availability, connectivity and cybersecurity risks can make working from home more challenging and stressful. Lastly, and most importantly, the new work arrangement has blurred the lines between personal and professional lives and the whole family now has to physically and mentally adapt to the living space becoming working and studying spaces as well.
The “Fresh Start Effect”.
While the pandemic does significantly affect an employee’s decision to resign, some psychologists suggest that the “Fresh Start Effect” is a more causal explanation. The concept proposes that landmark events such as the global pandemic causes people to reassess and recalibrate their lives, leading them to make meaningful changes.
What companies operating in Singapore are doing to minimise the effects of the “Great Resignation.”
While companies might not be able to do much in the way of socialisation, WFH-related frustrations, and pandemic epiphanies, there are still some measures that they can take to keep the talent they already have. Unsurprisingly, they all have one thing in common – improving the company’s approach to their employee’s mental health.
Armed with the knowledge of how the pandemic affects their employees, some companies are taking the necessary steps to keep their talented workers. Here are some of them:
Unilever provides mental health resources.
Whether employees are contemplating quitting because of a new opportunity or burnout, the root cause of mass resignation is the deteriorating morale and mental health of a large swathe of employees. As a result, Unilever has undertaken perhaps the most direct route to preventing mass resignation from their company by offering mental health resources such as guided meditation, mindfulness workshops, and mental health training.
Google gives its employees a reset day every week.
While Google also provides mental health resources, another notable course of action they took explicitly to combat the “Great Resignation” is by giving their employees ‘reset days’. They provide each employee a ‘reset days’, which they can use whenever they like.
This way, employees can do whatever they need to do to manage their mental health. For example, some employees take this time to do absolutely nothing; others use it to tidy up their house or run errands, while some choose to take their reset days by spending time with their loved ones.
Uber encourages lateral career moves and other learning opportunities.
To combat the monotonous grind of working from home, Uber has begun encouraging employees to make lateral career moves as a form of pattern interruption. This measure gives employees a chance to re-engage by learning the ropes in a different team without leaving the organisation.
As for Uber, it has helped them get the right people in the most relevant posts without hiring more employees.
There is no stopping The Great Resignation from happening. The only thing that companies can do now is to minimise its effects. So, if you’re trying to figure out a way to improve your employee’s mental health, then you’re already on the right path. If you want to help your employees further, you can also initiate the destigmatization of mental health issues in your company. One sure way of doing this is to normalise seeking help. You can even go further by engaging a mental health clinic and avail their services as part of your company insurance package.
We at Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic have a panel of mental health clinicians including psychologists and psychotherapists ready to diagnose, treat and manage mental health challenges like depression, anxiety and stress. Timely help through pharmacological therapy with our psychiatrist in Singapore as well as psychotherapy with various techniques such as CBT, Art Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing is key to recover.
Contact us if you want to know more.
Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic