Saturday, June 25, 2022

As Canadians return to offices, a new toolkit helps managers address employees’ mental health struggles and burnout

The Canadian Mental Health Commission report found that 35 percent of all employed Canadians feel burned out.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, better addressing the mental-health challenges of employees and the individual needs of employees is needed to help employees bring a burned-out work force back to the office, which has led to such A new toolkit has been released to deal with the issues. Hybrid work environment.

“People are struggling within the workplace,” said Tiana Field-Ridley, senior program manager for workplace mental health at MHCC, a nonprofit created by the federal government. “There is also a whole sector of managers who are also struggling. There’s a lot of leadership pressure on them and then there’s the added pressure of leading their team, and there’s not a lot of support available to them.”

The Manager’s Toolkit, released Friday, presents a range of employee scenarios that commonly occur in a workplace, and provides advice to managers on how to deal with them.

“The whole foundation of the toolkit is empathy,” said Ms Field-Ridley.

The toolkit relies on several sources, including a Mental Health Research Canada report released in January. Titled Psychological Health and Safety in Canadian Workplaces, the study was conducted in collaboration with Canada Life and Workplace Strategies for Mental Health and based on data collected online from more than 5,500 respondents by Polara Strategic Insights in November and December last year. was held on.

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The MHRC report found that 35 percent of all employed Canadians feel burned out; Only 39 percent are prepared by their employers to deal with the psychological demands of their jobs; Only 40 percent say they get help from their employers to cope with workplace stress; And only 4 percent have workplace policies adapted with new COVID-19 mental-health support.

These findings should prompt managers to create work models based on the particular needs of individuals, Ms Field-Ridley said, especially in a hybrid work context.

“Why are some people choosing to stay at home? Why is it better for them to do so?” he said.

One area of ​​particular concern with regard to the report’s findings is the increased mental-health issues of marginalized Canadians in the workplace, Ms Field-Ridley said. For example, the report found that only 45 percent of Black Canadians feel safe from workplace discrimination.

“There is a need for greater awareness of what marginalized groups are experiencing within the workplace.”

The new MHCC toolkit covers a wide range of areas, including performance issues, conflict resolution and recognizing decline in mental health in employees. Regular check-in with staff is one of the consistent themes of the guide.

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One of the scenarios the toolkit sees is if employees are turning off their camera during a meeting; It can be an indicator of mental-health conflicts.

According to the toolkit, managers should initiate conversations with such employees by asking if everything is okay and that everyone on the team knows what internal programs are available, whether it is employee benefits or employee and family assistance programs.

Addressing workplace mental-health issues is essential to establishing open communication based on trust and compassion, said Catherine Koons, national workplace mental-health expert at the Canadian Mental Health Association.

“We have to make sure we’re tailoring our response and providing the flexibility to do what the actual employee needs, so it’s really important to involve the employees through that process,” she said. “For a lot of people it’s going to come back personally and understand the need to provide resilience and accommodation wherever we can.”

Providing managers with a better understanding of how to identify and address mental-health issues in the workplace, said David Grater, a psychotherapist at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, is “in some ways… over a long period of time”. is overdue.

“It is important for managers to be trained and solve problems before they reach a critical stage,” he said. “The workplace itself has changed a lot and is in flux. It’s a stressful time.”

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