The global coronavirus outbreak causes both physical and mental stress.

No one asked for the COVID-19 pandemic. Back when it was only occasionally mentioned in the news at the end of 2019, it wasn’t of much concern to the general public. The expectation was that the coronavirus would not cause an outbreak outside of the affected localities in the Chinese mainland.

However, the coronavirus penetrated international borders due to a combination of unfortunate decisions and factors across the global community. Eventually, the COVID-19 pandemic was declared and changed the way people around the world live on a daily basis.

The drastic change in everyone’s way of life has triggered all sorts of stressors. First, there is the physical threat of severe illness and even death from coronavirus infection. Then, there is the negative impact on livelihood and the economy from businesses halting operations or closing down for good.

And of course, the COVID-19 crisis has created issues that cause significant mental stress: isolation, uncertainty of what the future holds, fear for the lives and well-being of loved ones, and overall hopelessness.

Addressing both physical and mental stress will promote a healthily productive workforce.

As physical and mental stressors, these effects, issues, and concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are more personal and hit most deeply out of any preoccupations that workers can have. They are threats that feel very near and immediate, and have been proven to affect anyone regardless of age, sex, or economic status due to the nature of the current crisis.

The foundation of a professional’s fitness to work is well-being. If there is an aspect of the self that is unwell – be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual – then the person’s self-preservation responses will kick in and potentially divert attention and resources from other life routines. And naturally, if unwellness is relieved the person will be able to more completely attend to other spheres of life including work.

Family and friends are both major influences on a person’s recovery from stress, and with the proper intervention strategy coworkers can have a similar relieving influence.

Employers and employees must work together to ensure both COVID-19 safety and mental health.

The most important part an employee must play to protect themselves from both COVID-19 and mental strain is to be responsible for their personal safety. Adhering to strict personal precautions at all times whether at home or the workplace not only protects a worker, it also protects their family and minimizes the chances of the coronavirus penetrating into their home. That’s already one less thing for the worker to worry about, and it’s a very significant concern to boot. On top of that, coworkers are protected as well.

On the employer’s part, workplace initiatives for COVID-19 safety and mental health are a must. The workplace is where workers spend 30-50% percent of the time they are awake on any given business day, whether in person or digitally. It must serve not only as a place to earn livelihood, but as a safe haven from pandemic worries as well. It must complement the precautions that workers adhere to on their own.

This can be achieved through multiple means: implementing protocols for entering, occupying, and leaving the workplace, alternating remote work schedules, implementing a skeletal workforce, installing or modifying facility ventilation and fixtures for pandemic safety, ensuring access to personal hygiene supplies and clean water, maintaining a self-reporting system, and engaging employees in mental healthcare exercises and checkups.

You can ask for help for both COVID-19 safety and mental health.

Of course, leaving these measures in the hands of specialists is also a valid course of action. In partnering up with these specialists, you’ll essentially have someone attending to your organization’s COVID-19 safety and mental health needs while only requiring minimal effort and supervision on your part. And that’s a distinctly useful advantage when you’re doing everything you can to survive and thrive in the new normal.

Managed services providers can deploy trained professionals to help you fortify your workplace and adapt your business activities according to standard COVID-19 safety protocols. And if your managed services partner specializes in integrated facilities management, which brings together the widest range of service lines under one contract, they’re the only partner you’ll ever need to safeguard your business.

Counseling services providers have rushed to the country’s aid, whether for individuals seeking psychological support or for businesses struggling to sustain their employees’ morale in the middle of the pandemic. Your organization can take advantage of this increased availability of support for workers’ mental health – these counseling services providers are very much open to discussing your needs and proposing an intervention strategy.

COVID-19 has proven to be a threat not only to physical health, but to mental health as well. As part of an ecosystem that sustains the economy in the middle of an ongoing pandemic, employers and employees can gain so much from sustaining both physical and mental health. Doing so upholds livelihoods everywhere while also ensuring that businesses will remain operational and capable of rebuilding to a future beyond COVID-19. And at the end of the day, that future is what should be driving workers and businesses to take better care of everyone’s physical and mental health: it’s a future that can be enjoyed and engaged in both physically and mentally.

Do you have other insights into how COVID-19 safety and mental health come together in the workplace? Comment on this post, or tell us on our social media!

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