The mental well-being of a population–including social well-being and psychological and emotional aspects–is essential to organizational development and a country’s sustainable development. The state of our mental health impacts the way we think, the way we act, the choices we make, and how we relate with others in society. A 2016 report from The Mental Health Foundation has shown that workplaces with high levels of positive mental health amongst their employees are more productive and add more value to the economy. To protect that value and achieve sustainable development, there is a need to protect and maintain a workplace environment that is conducive to the mental health of the workforce.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a seismic shift in workplace cultures around the world. Organizations were forced to transition physical working spaces to virtual or remote spaces to ensure organizational continuity amidst global lockdowns. Employees were forced into isolation in which their only human interaction (outside of those in their household) took place through a screen. Bearing in mind that humans are relational, studies have shown that the combination of remote work and government measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have affected the mental health well-being of individuals. The change in people’s behaviors and thoughts have demonstrated worries about health, limited assurance of the future, and increased uncertainty. The anxiety of losing employment, contracting the virus, or losing loved ones due to COVID-19 has increased mental health difficulties. These not only affect one’s mental health but their productivity and performance at work.