Research has shown that people will spend one-third of their adult lives at work. There are many challenges that the workplace and staff face, from productivity to mental health, well-being, and satisfaction. The working environment is not a conflict-free zone, bringing a range of issues that can affect the workforce.
Workers are not necessarily happier during remote work, i.e., part of the week or full-time. Remote working comes with its own set of challenges for the business and staff. However, before we delve into remote working, let’s review the workforce’s challenges by looking at automation.
Automation is not necessarily a new threat – companies have always looked for ways to cut costs and make processes as simple as possible. However, as technology advances and we find more and more ways to make lives and jobs more accessible, there presents itself the possibility that automation will remove some roles.
In 2018, 37% of the UK’s workforce revealed that they were worried that automation will change their jobs for the worse – with 23% of workers saying they feel worried that their current job may not be needed.
However, it has also been suggested that automation could help create more jobs than it will make redundant.
There are a whole host of benefits to allowing employees to work from home. Not only is commuting stressful and unpleasant (especially during the summer season), but with the ever-rising prices of trains, some employees may feel like they’re losing their hard-earned money. With this in mind, offering remote work can boost productivity, allowing them to use the time that would have been spent commuting on more critical work.
45% of Brits have said that their daily commute has a negative effect on their health.
According to the NHS, more than 24 million people in the UK commute to work regularly (an average journey being 56 minutes). Stress levels, blood pressure, and choice of healthy food, exercise, and sleep are negative impacts of a long commute.
However, working from home might not be for everyone and may not totally remove stress, but create different types of stress.
As virtual contracts become increasingly popular in the working world, those taking them should be armed with the tools to manage the possible distractions and confusion from working in the same building where they relax, sleep, and spend time with their family.
Resolving employee conflicts remotely is demanding. When your staff is in the workplace, and it becomes evident that some employees are not getting on, you can take immediate action. A spontaneous decision to mediate a meeting in a meeting room or off-site at the local cafe can be required to ensure the workers work through their differences.
In-person meetings use body language cues to interpret and read signals that confirm how the meeting is progressing and on the right path to reconciliation.
Video conferencing meetings can resolve worker disagreements, but without the visual cues of body language, the conflict may take longer to detect and fix. This also brings us to social well-being and how to manage it in the post-pandemic era.
Employees’ mental well-being certainly affects their ability to work in a team.
But mental health isn’t the only thing that can cause colleague tension. It’s well known that opinions on politics and society have intensely divided the world. This mustn’t leak into the workplace.
Strong opinions and beliefs are healthy, but a cohesive workforce depends on its members respecting each other’s views and knowing when such matters should be left out of the workplace.
Mental Health Issues
Stress is one of the biggest challenges and health hazards in the workplace. Stress is a native reaction to something and can be triggered by many things, including the job role, colleagues, or home life.
In 2017/18, it was found that over half of all long-term sickness absences from work was for stress and depression – however, it’s also hard for a business to spot as the employee may not want to admit to feeling stressed.
If an employee feels stressed, the workplace might not have always caused it. Homelife can bring with it its own challenges that can then be brought to work. This can lead to reduced productivity and low motivation.
Side Effects Of Stress
Stress and anxiety can have several side effects, one being self-medicating. For example, alcohol is a depressant that slows the brain and central nervous system’s processes – while at first, it may seem to help people cope with stress for a short time, in the long run, it can be a contributing factor to feeling depression and anxiety – and ultimately make it harder to deal with.
If you feel like a workforce member is using alcohol as a coping mechanism, offer them support to seek professional medical care or attend a specialist rehab clinic.
Rehab clinics, such as Delamere, can help treat a range of addictions and other associated issues in a safe zone.
Right now, life, as we knew it pre-pandemic, slowly resembles normality. However, even the strongest among us deal with uncertainty, new routines and restrictions on some movements, and businesses’ angst to drive up sales and replenish cash reserves.
Stress is a reaction to change, and you’ll know the symptoms, such as headaches, upset stomach, and chest pains. It’s essential to take care of yourself and others and destress before signs worsen, bringing on harsher health issues like cancer, heart attacks, etc.
Put aside some time every day for yourself. Do meditation, even if it’s just a few minutes each day, plus improve your diet to include healthy options like fruit and vegetables.
Add more movement into your day with aerobic and anaerobic exercises. It’s amazing what you can do in your home, so search online for exercise routines in small areas.
Reading and doing quizzes and puzzles will also help you unwind and improve your mental agility.