An IIT-Delhi alumnus, Spinny Founder & CEO Niraj Singh is a seasoned serial entrepreneur and investor. In 2007, Niraj established his first venture, Locus Education – a test preparation and online education platform start-up created to bridge the availability gap for aspiring students to gain access to high-quality study material and training. Being an inveterate car lover, he put his heart and soul into this opportunity. As a result, Spinny was born to serve the need for quality preowned cars purchased via a delightful buying experience. For most Indians, a car is one of the most aspirational purchases, second only to buying a home. Therefore, with Spinny, Niraj is committed to reinventing the car-buying experience with the right values, absolute rigour and, most importantly, pleasant customer service.
Both physical and mental health of people is subject to the stresses and strains of their lifestyles and the environment. This includes the work environment. Growing awareness about mental health issues at the workplace is now bringing such problems into the open.
During the past one-and-a-half years after the pandemic-induced lockdown, people’s mental well-being has come under severe strain. One of the major reasons – the work-from-home (WFH) regime due to lockdown restrictions.
Isolation and Stress
Humans are largely gregarious, requiring regular conversations and the company of fellow beings. But WFH and other social distancing strictures meant people suddenly had to work by themselves at home. The prolonged period of isolation and lack of contact with peers has created greater levels of anxiety, stress, boredom and uncertainty among employees.
Previously, such issues didn’t arise since working from the office meant employees were constantly in touch with colleagues. Overnight, WFH stopped the conversations that generated bonhomie among people. Within weeks of WFH, however, the strain of daily Zoom calls created unexpected stress. More screen time made employees – as well as employers – realise that virtual meetings were no substitute for the vibrancy of in-person sessions.
It is now clear to everyone that the longer the WFH regime continues, the greater the risk of employee mental well-being getting badly compromised. Moreover, those who have resumed work share their relief at working from the office with peers still under WFH. For the latter, the sense of isolation only increases.
Bonding and Prevention
Considering this scenario, it’s apparent that the sooner WFH ends for most employees, the better will be their mental well-being. Organisations also need to proactively monitor employees’ mental health through in-house or empanelled counsellors. Keeping the mental health of employees on track should be one of their priorities. Meanwhile, leaders should lead by example, handling delicate conversations with patience and compassion. Once employees are reassured of support, they will be candid about their mental well-being concerns.
Nonetheless, managers should watch out for symptoms of staff stress. These may include fatigue due to sleep deprivation, persistent headaches, fumbling or making more-than-normal mistakes, lower productivity, problems with decision-making, irritable, erratic or complacent behaviour, greater absenteeism and other signs. ’Every organisation should place an impetus on mental well-being and rectifying mental health-related issues. One must realise that the pandemic has been devastating for the world’s collective mental state of mind and it needs to be a collective responsibility for us to look out for each other.
Finally, whether employees are working from home or office, they should be encouraged to maintain a work-life balance. No doubt, working from the office is safer and more satisfying. Yet, spending time with the family after office hours is equally imperative to prevent burnout and protect employees’ mental well-being.