Working women are frequently expected to involve in multiple roles at the workplace and at home. Having to juggle between many responsibilities, this type of pressure can take a toll on women’s wellbeing. Maintaining good mental health is an essential aspect of quality life. Needless to say, when women are suffering from depression due to a poor mental state, it can go spiral and affect many things, such as their immune system, work productivity, as well as the relationship with people.
Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected employees’ wellbeing, especially working mothers who have to struggle with caregiving responsibilities and work matters. In a report published by CARE International, 27% of women surveyed witness an increase in challenges related to mental illness compared to 10% of their male counterparts.
The unpaid work burden of women is likely to increase as they are confined to work from home. In this case, the role of the HR professionals is essential in fulfilling all employees’ needs, especially women. The initiatives include enhancing operations for better workflow and performance, but HR professionals must also emphasize mental wellness at the center of their business strategies.
There are four actions HR professionals can take to improve women’s mental health in the workplace.
1.Make mental health a priority
HR leaders need to communicate openly about their commitment towards addressing women’s mental health and support this claim with significant actions. HR leaders who are identified as resource persons are more likely to have satisfied organization members, so being accountable is critical. In regards, HR could encourage women to conduct a mental health self- survey at least once a year. This is the time for each employee to take proactive action and evaluate their mental health condition with relevant resources, so they can get help and assistance.
2. Re-assess workplace norms
Covid-19 has made it a difficult situation for employees to determine a clear direction between managing work and home. This is particularly applicable for working mothers directed to return on-site after working remotely for a long time. It is important to have a flexible arrangement to help working parents transition smoothly. HR needs to identify ways to regenerate work-life boundaries and speak up clearly on which workplace flexibility is available for the mothers, particularly.
3. Boost mental health support
A company does not necessarily become a mental health assistance provider, but they can partner with experts in the field who can assist to provide digital guidance and assistance to the workforce. However, the company should also build up internal capabilities to address wellbeing issues in the workplace. Companies that prioritize virtual and digital assistance may see better results in women’s mental health improvement.
4. Communicate available resources clearly
An organization might have many resources for mental health assistance, but unfortunately, most employees are not aware of it. So, it is HR’s responsibility to ensure employees know how and where to assess available resources through communicating with them precisely. Most women refuse to seek help directly from their management because they believe that they would be portrayed as unprofessional or weak employees who keep seeking helps.
Creating an organization with good mental wellbeing cannot be done overnight, but the HR department should embrace the importance of employees’ mental health as a fundamental of business priority. This is the stepping stone needed to develop a better working culture.
Dr. Kamalesh Ravesangar is a Lecturer with over eight years of experience in teaching Certificate, Diplomas, Degree, and MBA students from various social and cultural backgrounds at private colleges and universities. Currently, she works as Head of Programme (HRM) and Lecturer at Albukhary International University in Malaysia. She is also Associate Editor for Albukhary Social Business Journal (ASBJ).
She holds a Ph.D. (doctorate) and a Master’s degree in Organisational Behavior and Human Resource Management. Besides, she is also a peer-reviewer for the Asian Journal of Economics, Business, and Accounting which she has been awarded a “Certificate of Excellence in Reviewing”.
Connect with her on LinkedIn.
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