By Ms. Laila Ngo, Head of HR & Inclusion, East Asia Area, BAT –
The last two years have been crazy, to say the least, and the COVID-19 pandemic has really given us challenges that we had never faced before. It has also given birth to new work trends and feelings such as zoom fatigue, remote work, hybrid workplace, languishing feelings, and the one that everyone has been talking about, the Great Resignation.
In Vietnam, we lived with one of the strictest lockdown in the world and coming out of that period, you can’t help but reflect on how employees, colleagues and teams are navigating all of this and ask:
How are they doing? How is their wellbeing and mental health?
Like most organizations, we experienced new challenges through each COVID-19 wave and extended periods of working from home. Change happened overnight, and we moved in quick turn-around from a traditional office-based company to a fully remote team. On top of that our teams were faced with personal challenges from school closures to the impact of isolation due to the strict lockdowns. What was always a priority to us, was the team’s wellbeing and mental health.
Let’s talk. Let’s know.
To be very honest mental health is such a new concept in Asia. There is still a need for a lot of education and awareness raising. I remember during the lockdown when one of my team members started talking to me about his struggles and how he felt the impacts of the isolation. Before I knew it it, I also started sharing my challenges.
I think this type of exchange is such a great start – Let’s talk about it.
But even better – Let’s know more about it.
And I continue to be honest on this topic: I did not feel confident that I knew enough about mental health, the trends, what knowledge I need and especially, the responsibility I have in my role as a company line manager and leader.
I believe there is a great opportunity to build a culture of caring.
Culture of caring
Moving forward and out of COVID-19, let’s equip our line managers with the skills to handle the conversations on mental health and wellbeing. The new world is complex, our challenges are different, and people want to have conversations.
As leaders we are setting the tone.
We can start small and progress by being authentic leaders and share our own vulnerabilities. We can start raising awareness about mental health and what it is. And we can open these conversations and be better line managers.
Wellbeing and mental health in particular are essential for high performance. When you look after your people, they look after your consumers, and your business grows. When you give them tools to prioritize their wellbeing, they will have the energy to deliver and perform.
Focus on people
In this new normal world, looking after our team is the biggest way we can make a difference to our business, society, our shareholders, our team, and their families. The great news is there is a lot of opportunity for us to be better.
So let’s learn more about mental health, it’s essential not a new buzzword.
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