3 Workplace Mental Health Lessons Learned From Lockdown

There has been a reported 60 per cent decline in mental health in UK adults over the past year as we have all had to face up to many changes at home and at work, and research from Bupa has revealed that pressure was the most common form of work-related stress in 2020, with many people experiencing burnout and ‘boreout’.

As we begin to slowly return to the office as the lockdown restrictions are eased, there could be another spike in mental health issues as people find themselves in crowded workplaces and busy commutes on trains and buses, reports New Scientist.

During the lockdown, many people turned to Google for support and advice, and based on what people were searching for, we have three mental health lessons we can all learn from lockdown as we prepare for a new normal.

1. It’s important to take regular breaks

Employee burnout has been a mental health condition that has increased in the past year, with Google searches rising by 45 per cent. Burnout is when we’re experiencing high levels of pressure and stress at work, leaving us feeling emotionally and physically exhausted, lacking motivation and feeling negative about our work.

It’s vital to take regular breaks away from your desk to help you recharge and feel energised once more. It’s also important to remember to use your annual leave to be able to switch off for a longer period, and resist the temptation to be checking work emails!

Talking to someone you trust can also help reduce burnout. Contact your manager to see if you can work together to reduce some of the pressure.

2. Not being challenged enough can leave you feeling fatigued

There has been an incredible 680 per cent increase in Google searches for ‘boreout’ in 2020. Boreout is when we feel our work is too easy, repetitive, and unchallenging, which can make us feel anxious, stressed and fatigued.

The main lesson learnt from boreout is to open up about how you feel, and again, talk to your manager to see if there are ways to increase your responsibility for your role. Managers should also be on the lookout for signs of both boreout and burnout, and be able to offer mental health support.

3. Too many video calls have left us feeling exhausted

There were no recorded incidences of ‘zoom fatigue’ searches on Google if only because before the pandemic, very few of us spent much time using virtual platforms such as Zoom, Skype and Teams to communicate.

It is a new phenomenon that describes the worry and fatigue we feel when spending a large portion of our workday communicating through a screen, and our brains need to work harder to make up for the missing information such as body language and facial expressions.

Many people get anxious worrying about being disrupted by family members, pets, background noise or technical glitches, which can also contribute to fatigue.

If you’re experiencing Zoom fatigue, try limiting the number of video calls you make each day. Ask yourself whether this meeting needs to take place or if can you communicate via email, messages or the phone.

Similarly, whilst on a video call try to avoid multitasking by checking emails or completing another task; this will allow you to focus on the task at hand.

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