Striving for Happy, Healthier Lives

Companies must continue to recognise the importance of mental health in 2021.

With 2020’s global pandemic, workplace wellness saw many challenges. Companies and organisations had to move and adapt quickly to form a remote support network and wellness adapted to an online format to support staff’s overall mental health and wellbeing. 

Mental health and the stigma around mental health was put centre stage during this global pandemic; in relation to talking about our mental health, Covid-19 called out ‘the elephant in the room’. Throughout 2020, our society’s mental health was compromised in an alarming way.

Organisational change around stigma and self-stigma was made as companies engaged employees on the topic of mental health. Many organisations were able to signpost a pathway of referral in the form of EAP programs, mental health first-aiders and training line managers to have the conversation of “Are you ok?. Mental health difficulties affected 1 in 1 in 2020 as everyone was compromised by this global pandemic. Resilience in teams and managers was demonstrated throughout the year as businesses had to adapt, change and innovate quickly. 

Looking towards 2021, it is important that mental health does not fall by the wayside in comparison to physical health. They should be treated with the same duty of care. A healthy, happy workforce is a productive and engaged workforce. The wealth of your business depends on the health of your workers. It’s often easy to broadly speak about what employers should do by simply saying “they need to make things better for employees” and leave it at that. 

However, that does not actually provide practical advice for employers who want to make a difference. Reducing stigma, staff engagement and mental health training are key elements that small businesses can offer. One of the most important things when it comes to promoting good mental health is the need to develop strong interpersonal skills and the ability to bring these skills to your employees.

Wellness predictions for 2021 include the national Covid-19 vaccine program and mental health being top priority. Remote wellness is here to stay but a blended work environment of remote and office will be the way forward as wellness continues to play a huge role in our recovery. 

The “human connection” will be stronger than before and a more integrated environment of human and digital will be phased out throughout 2021 as we navigate the new normal. Employee engagement in 2020 faced its challenges with a sea of digital remote messages and 2021 predictions see the human “in person” contact returning stronger than before.