On World Mental Health Day, myHQ hosted a Webinar Panel Discussion on a topic that has been making the rounds in the corporate world for quite some time – “MENTAL HEALTH AND WFH.

On the panel, we had an interesting contrast of speakers; a new-age and successful startup founder — Utkarsh Kawatra, founder of myHQ workspaces; a senior mental health consultant — Khilly Marwaha,Crisis Prevention and Intervention Trainer at Mind Belief; and a senior general management expert — Gagan Singh, Chief Evangelist Culture at ANAROCK Groups. 

This webinar addresses the following topics:

  • How WFH is affecting employees’ mental health
  • How to improve employees’ overall mental health and strike a better work-life balance

Mental Health and WFH – Webinar Recap

The discussion started with a fabulous quote,

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.”

The speakers addressed issues that many businesses are now attempting to tackle in order to improve the mental well-being of their employees. They all contributed their own perspectives on the issues that were discussed, introducing us to various aspects of the same issue.

As you read on, the article will reveal their unique takes on the questions posed to them, as well as the others’ two cents.

Khilly

When asked, “What exactly is mental wellness in the workplace?” Khilly stated that the workplace is like a second home, and this couldn’t be more true given WFH’s growing culture. She continues to define mental health as:

“In a whole context, how you feel about your emotions, psychological well-being, and social well-being is what we mean when we talk about mental health, and in the workplace, all three aspects apply.”

In a WFH lifestyle, it is difficult for employees to mentally navigate from one state of mind to another instantly, which otherwise happens gradually on the commute to work. She urged managers and employees to be more aware of their colleagues’ well-being at work and to be on the lookout for these red flags.

  • Loss of focus
  • Loss of interest
  • The difference in behaviour and interactions

That indicates that their co-worker is facing some sort of mental blockage. She also shared a piece of interesting information. She said,

“There was recent research which said that if you have depression, it’s not very accurate to say that it will impact your productivity because many times our minds go on autopilot mode. For example, if I’m skilled at doing something, even when I’m stressed, my mind will function accurately to perform the same task.”

Her perspective on hybrid work was interesting; she highlighted that while it is a beautiful model, it necessitates its own degree of understanding. What kind of work model makes me productive can differ from what makes you productive.

She ended the discussion by highlighting what is required from employers to enrich employees’ well-being.

“So I think overall, the change in mindset, laying out clear expectations, driving it as a culture and welcoming it as a culture is very important. That bias from the mind needs to be eliminated. “

Gagan

Gagan began by emphasizing how, prior to COVID, employers began to consider the importance of their employees’ well-being and its impact on their businesses, and how COVID has accelerated that process since then.

Gagan, as Chief Evangelist of Culture, has implemented numerous Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) in her organization, which has improved employee involvement and collaboration, and most importantly, enhanced employees’ overall well-being at the workplace.

“We cannot say that only the work front is important, the whole life of an employee is important so that we get the best results at work.”

It was chaotic when people were compelled to work from home during COVID, but people eventually figured it out, embraced it, and now they want the flexibility. Employees are currently deciding who they want to work for.

She pointed out,

“Employees are deciding now. Whether I want to work or I like the place, or I like the terms or not, So, management has to now create an appealing work environment, and that can only be done through culture.

You have to make it attractive for the employee to come to work, show that “we care for you, come to us; come to the office, you will have a fun time,”

When asked what she thinks of hybrid work as a solution, she states, “Things have completely changed now. Employers must be sensitive, flexible, and open-minded. And we’ll see where it all ends up. But I believe that hybrid work or work from anywhere is going to be the norm.”

Utkarsh 

Utkarsh had his own view on mental health at work. He says it’s how we feel when we wake up. Whether we wake up thinking, “Oh, I have to work today!” or “Yes, I get to work today!” has a lot to do with determining our mental well-being at work. He believes that having that positive attitude towards work is vital for enjoying your workday.

He goes on to say that employees require a workspace for two primary reasons: one, to be more productive and efficient; and two, to socialise with their coworkers. He indicated that hybrid work is not well defined because it varies depending on the nature of the work, and it is the company’s responsibility to provide an effective model.

“And now the challenge for a lot of companies is to figure out how to mix and match all of this to find the most ideal situation for their employees.”

He later goes on to explain what could be a balanced approach.

“The answer is, hybrid, right? You know that you can’t get all your 100 plus employees to the central office. You’re looking at at least 30% of your employees working remotely, so you need to give them the option to work from anywhere.”

As the founder of a company that provides workspace solutions, he shared how an office space, in terms of infrastructure and design, caters to employees’ work experiences. And why coworking spaces are the most effective way to create a hybrid ecosystem. His concluding words were,

“I think having those multiple offices sort of covers that for all companies and ensures that you can build your organization in a more sustainable manner, ensure employees are happy that they can work from anywhere close to their home as well.”

Conclusion

It is clear that mental health must be prioritized, and employers are now looking into ways to ensure their employees’ well-being. The great resignation or the great shuffle only serves to remind us that employees are now calling the shots. We have seen that people’s priorities have changed. They want to improve their quality of life and have more personal time. Employers are put in a position where they must create a more flexible environment.

We can conclude from this discussion that flexibility improves employee mental well-being and that hybrid models are going to be the future of work.

Let us know what you think in the comments section.

myHQ workspaces offer companies flexible workspace solutions. With our 100+ partner workspaces across the country, we help them create a hybrid ecosystem for their employees. If you are looking for a flexible workspace solution, let us know at crew@myhq.com or call us at +91 9205006361.