OPRA Launch: 5 points on mental health in the workplace

How has work affected your mental well-being?

At the beginning of the pandemic in 2021, we had a similar question in our minds. Our friends and colleagues were facing a wide range of challenges. Some scrambled to provide relief, while others tried their best at tackling a tsunami of logistical issues. This was the result of the horrific second wave that took place in April, 2021 in India. (Read more here.)

Having made it through the second wave, we wondered if we could help in a more structured way.

We wanted to understand the risk factors that led to people feeling helpless and burnt out at work. Was it just a question of their mental well-being? Or were there other factors also involved?

So we conducted the OPRA survey with the intention that it would help paint a better picture of all issues that people were going through in the workplace.

After months of analysis and discussion, we finally launched the results on the last day of ‘Mental Health Awareness Month’ – May 31, 2022.

Here are five things we learned from the launch:

1. Mental health needs to be seen from a psychosocial perspective

There is a need to look at workplace stress factors from a more sociological and psychological perspective. Meaning, what are the social and environmental factors around a person that would influence them to face issues? A psychosocial approach is perhaps a more preferred viewpoint, compared to its cold, clinical cousin. The approach looks at a person’s history, background, personal experiences and tries to understand how these factors affect their mental well-being.. It paints a truer picture of mental health, and the steps required to get to a state of wellness.

2. The need for an inclusive and rights-based culture

This would seem like an obvious one to promote. But in many cases, workplace inclusivity takes a hit and promotes a culture of miscommunication, misinformation and self-doubt. When this happens, we begin to doubt the value we bring to the group. Having lost the feedback and space to improve on, we begin doubting everything we do. This leads to a loss of personal confidence and efficiency and adds on to more stress. An inclusive culture ensures that everyone is accepted, included, and heard. There are processes put in place where the voices of all those involved are taken into account. With all the biases we carry, it is easier said than done, and it will require a cultural reset.

3. Building back trust

Constant updates, longer meetings, and dreading looking at a laptop. Sound familiar? With a remote work setup in place, many felt the need to ensure that people were actually working. But as a majority of our panelists also mentioned during the launch, trust is an integral part of the workplace. But because of an uptick in over-monitoring of everyone’s efforts, trust has taken a hit. This has led to more stress as people have more reporting to do or take more efforts for visibility of their work. Perhaps, as they reopen, organisations must reassess the level of trust that they have for their workers.

4. Avoiding off-the-shelf solutions

As pointed out by an expert during the launch discussion, there is a need to properly educate organizations about mental health and well-being. Especially the sections within that look at talent and people management (traditionally HR), since there are still widely held misconceptions about mental health. These can greatly affect how a company decides to tackle mental health, even looking at off-the-shelf solutions that are often not great for their context. This only leads to wasted resources, time and patience of your employees.

5. Mental health – not just for employees

Rather than treating mental health issues only at the employee level, the exercise should be seen as a strategic move that needs to be applied across the company. It’s not just the employee – there are other factors like workplace dynamics that also hamper well-being. Well-being needs to be built into the DNA of the company, starting with its strategic objectives. Only then do you have a mental well-being plan that are not only relevant but receive the due attention they deserve from all levels of the organization.

You can find out more about the OPRA event launch by watching the launch recording below👇🏻

If you’d like to find out more about the OPRA report, please visit here: www.x-leap.com/opra

The OPRA report and toolkit has been developed with the support of Shruti Pakrasi (Counselling and Organisational Psychologist). OPRA is also supported by our partners VMERGE, The 7th Fold, and Rashmi Gupta

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