The emergence of the coronavirus disease has not just affected our physical health. There has also been profound emotional distress worldwide. Some of us are feeling overwhelmed. We lack energy. If you’re a business leader you’re probably faced with dispirited, ineffective teams. At a time when you most need productivity, your people are troubled – trying to balance new ways of working with family commitments and fear of the virus.

Months into the process we’re beginning to see that the way ahead will remain uncertain, anxiety-ridden and mentally taxing.

The effects of COVID go way beyond the physical

Mygrow’s recent research, focusing on wellbeing in relation to work found that a sizable proportion of people feel: Wellbeing in relation to work And these results only confirm the findings of other studies in South Africa, and around the world, highlighting various psychological problems in mental health and wellbeing including anxiety, depression, stress, frustration and uncertainty.
  • SADAG’s more recent surveys report significantly higher rates of anxiety and panic (55%), depression (40%), broken family relations (30%), and feelings of suicide (12%).
  • A recent study by the Human Sciences Research Council and University of Johannesburg indicates that 33% of people are depressed with 30% struggling with loneliness, while 60% are struggling with significant stress as a result of the pandemic.
  • Canada indicates a general worsening of mental health for 32% of the population. Women, particularly those juggling home-schooling, working from home and household tasks, older people and those with pre-existing mental health conditions are more at risk.
  • Forbes found that about 30% of Americans display clinical signs of anxiety and depression, and that this increases to 55% for those experiencing financial pressure as a result of COVID.
If these statistics are representative of how people are feeling – both here in South Africa, and around the world – then the emotional climate is far from ready for us to effectively turn the national, and global, economy around.

Emotional issues were a concern before COVID

Psychological effects of the lockdown

Even before COVID there was evidence of mental health and wellbeing issues. Large scale studies showed that the workforce in South Africa was already struggling.

  • In their global workforce assessments, Gallup found that South Africa’s workplace showed dismally low employee engagement levels of only 9%-15% over the past 7 years.
  • Alongside these figures, mental health issues relating to anxiety and depression further dampened the performance of more than 38% of employees.
The cost of this to companies, while largely unseen, had a direct effect.
  • The highest impairment came from issues such as anxiety, depression, and emotional or physical problems (such as migraines) as a result of stress.
  • Ineffective leadership was also found to dampen profitability by 12% of annual turnover.

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Post-lockdown emotional fallout has become a reality

Companies pressed to produce, post-lockdown, find themselves in gridlock with demands of business on the one hand, and clearly stressed and verging-on-burned-out people on the other.

For companies to survive in a post-lockdown world, they will need their people to function more effectively than ever before. Not only must your business recoup what has been lost, but you also face an extremely tough economic climate. The problem is that the dynamics of lockdown have been emotionally devastating for a lot of people: financial stresses, job losses, the issue of stigma for those who have contracted the virus, relational stress, gender-based violence, family pressures, the effects of social isolation and health and safety concerns. Psychological lockdown There is a clash between the economic needs of business leaders, and the needs of their people – who need emotional rehabilitation and support. However, this clash of needs need not be your story.

This is how to navigate the emotional landscape

There are ways to affect change; to meet the emotional needs of people and save your business from demotivation and lack of productivity.

Most people are simply unaware of fairly simple measures that can prevent and remediate the psychological damage they are experiencing right now.

Like the physical precautions of social distancing, face masks and sanitising, there are simple tools and techniques rooted in Positive Psychology that can be powerful for individuals and liberating for business. Mygrow’s (Re)ignition Support Package gives you and your teams immediate emotional and mental health support in a way that reinvigorates, motivates and revitalises your people.

(Re)ignition Support Package

The (Re)ignition Support Package is a lifeline for your people
It’s a series of thoughtfully crafted resources, developed together with psychologists and mental health professionals across South Africa. Designed to help individuals, leaders, and companies positively reset relational, operational and cultural dynamics through a series of specific practices and techniques it is immediately practical and easy to use.

The resources act collectively as a ‘toolkit’ to equip you to deal with fatigued teams, discouragement, overwhelm, relationship breakdown and stress.

The toolkit is twofold:
  1. An online collection of resources for individuals, leaders and families that includes activities, tools, protocols, learning games, e-books, educational webinars, facilitated team sessions, open hours with psychologists, emotional management techniques and guides
  2. A personal subscription for online EQ development
The positive effects of the package become formidable when dovetailed with Mygrow’s EQ platform. Using the toolkit at the same time as your daily EQ online training increases your capacity to confront with patience, insight and imagination the many problems you face in relationship with yourself and with those around you. A healthy organisation can cope with the stress of a post-COVID world.

Where to start

Find out more about the (Re)ignition Support Package or contact Mygrow – [email protected].

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