For businesses, mental health issues among top 4 threats of Covid-19 fallout

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on June 23, 2020

International SOS recommends companies make use of tele-consultations to ensure employee well-being

There is a concern that the psychological effects of the Covid-19 pandemic will leave behind a stressed and anxious workforce for corporates and businesses. International SOS — an international agency tracking and assessing security and travel risk for businesses, says mental health issues of employees will emerge as the fourth biggest threat to business continuity in the next 12 months due to Covid-19.

In order to ensure employee safety, corporates and businesses have unknowingly exposed their employees to social and professional isolation under the new work-culture called ‘work-from-home.’ It is therefore recommended that business groups adopt practices of employee engagement through tele-consultations and tele-advice to keep stress and anxiety levels in control, it said.

Commenting on the mental health issues among employees of corporate groups, Dr Rahul Kalia, Medical Director, International SOS India, said: “The Covid-19 scenario is evolving rapidly and it is exacerbating mental health issues. Working from home, social isolation, anxiety surrounding access to care and fear of the unknown is contributing to the stress faced by the working population.”

“It will be important to address these mental health issues and provide structured, confidential and timely access to good mental health support that will help safeguard the workforce considerably,” Kalia said.

The top three threats of Covid-19 are — disruptions in businesses, country lockdowns and international border restrictions, a survey on Return to Work by International SOS revealed.

Founded in 1985, International SOS is a $1.5 billion privatelyvowned company providing health, security risk management and wellbeing solutions to businesses.

The survey analysed responses from over 1,000 professionals responsible for supporting health, safety, security and well-being of employees in businesses.

Primary concern

The survey finds that over 70 per cent of companies’ primary concern in terms of business continuity is facing further disruptions from a second wave of Covid-19.

While there is a focus on return to work measures, about 21 per cent of the respondents still don’t have a pandemic plan and process in place.

Furthermore, over 20 percent expect mental health issues to pose a major threat in the coming year. The survey revealed that over 17 per cent of the respondents said that mental health issues had already impacted continuity of business operations.

Kalia added that the current pandemic not only compels people to safeguard themselves from the virus but at the same time poses health and security challenges for employees and businesses.

Experts believe that having a structured response plan for situations such as pandemics is an important step in strengthening an organisation’s resilience. “Plans should not only look at the immediate reactive aspect of the pandemic but also provide direction on the potential new normal that the working environment is likely to experience. These changes may range from structural ones like temperature screening at access points to the need for and tele-consultations becoming a significant provision for employees working from home or office,” Kalia said.

Published on June 23, 2020

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