Over the past two years, the pandemic—and all its associated economic and social stressors—has helped to “normalise” speaking about mental health and shown how crucial supporting mental health is in helping us to function well in both private and business settings. Implementing a “mentally-well workplace”, where both employee and employer work together closely to create a culture of health and wellbeing for all, is a goal all companies aspire towards to ensure higher productivity, job satisfaction and employee retention.
While the goal is universal, supporting mental health should be a highly personalised process. It’s important to support employees with a toolkit of resources rather than a “one-size-fits-all” solution.
Joining Mandarin Oriental during arguably the most challenging period ever faced by the hospitality industry has taught me much about the broader need for empathy and flexibility, particularly for those on the front line. Here’s what I’ve learned.
Recognise that every individual is different
We are all out at sea, but in different boats—everyone is experiencing this pandemic in a uniquely personal way. We should avoid jumping to conclusions and assume, for example, that things are OK because someone is smiling, or conversely, assume things are not OK because someone is “detaching” or pulling away.
It’s important to recognise that there are many “realities” in the pandemic, whether it’s a younger team member who’s keen to reconnect with colleagues in the office, those with family commitments who are trying to juggle work and home-schooling, or those who lack the technical infrastructure to work effectively at home.