No doubt you’re flat out as we heard towards the Christmas break, but do you realise, there’s no better time to take a step back to consider how your workforce has been coping over the past 18-24 months. While we’re all sick of talking about COVID, unfortunately, the reality is that it’s taken its toll. So, is there something you can do right now to demonstrate your appreciation and show you care? The latest Mental Health Index released by LifeWorks, a leading provider of digital total wellbeing solutions, backs up anecdotal evidence suggesting that many Australians aren’t doing too well when it comes to mental health. This monthly index revealed that while we’ve seen a small improvement in mental health over the last two months, overall, we’ve had a negative mental-health score for 19 consecutive months. Interesting to note is that the Mental Health index found younger Australians, parents and managers have experienced feelings of crisis and inability to cope with mental health concerns at a disproportionate rate: 36% of individuals under 40 indicated that they felt in crisis or had concerns about their mental health and their ability to cope, while only 15% of individuals 50 and older reported the same. Parents were over 70% more likely than non-parents to indicate that they felt in crisis or had concerns about their mental health and their ability to cope. Managers were more than 40% more likely than non-managers to report the same concerns. The index also found that deteriorating workplace relationships have impacted mental health, feelings of isolation and productivity: 11% of respondents reported their experiences with work peers had not been positive since the onset of the pandemic, an increase of 6% since before the pandemic. Respondents who indicated their experiences with their work peers had not been positive since the beginning of the pandemic also reported an isolation score more than four times lower than those who had had positive experiences with colleagues. 13% of respondents reported their experiences with their manager had not been positive since the pandemic began, an increase of 4% since before the pandemic. This resulted in a productivity score more than 17 points below the national average. Paula Allen, global leader and senior vice president, research and total wellbeing, at Lifeworks said now is the time to focus on creating a positive workplace culture. “The pandemic has created a new working environment for employers to navigate. The changes have heightened strain on existing workplace relationships and in some cases, resulted in new tension in peer relationships. To build a healthier culture, it is important that employers acknowledge that there are more relationship and wellbeing risks now. This is a perfect opportunity for employers to focus on creating a positive workplace culture that prioritises employee wellbeing and fosters productivity over the long-term, rather than as a short-term solution during a crisis. This will allow organisations to achieve their full potential and build a post-pandemic workplace that is stronger than ever before.” You can find the full Australian LifeWorks Mental Health Index report here. Looking for Support? The Ayers Group Can Help There’s no doubt that managing people is one of the most challenging roles we’ll ever face, especially during unprecedented times that we’re experiencing. At the Ayers Group we have online tools, including a customised payroll management platform, management solutions for contingent workers, and visa services to help you get on top of day-to-day administration so that you can focus on keeping your people satisfied in their roles and on track with their KPIs.