Pandemic fatigue affects women and managers

International monitoring platform for health and well-being at work, Global Watch Network provides its members with an overview of best practices around the world and offers them tools. In a webinar organized in May 2022, the company presented several issues and trends observed both in the country and elsewhere in the world.

President and founder of Global-Watch, Marie-Claude Pelletier insisted on some of these issues, in an interview with the Insurance Portal. She immediately states that we are experiencing two pandemics: that of the coronavirus and that of mental health issues in the workplace. Pandemic fatigue affects all employees: women, millennials and managers more than others.

Managers’ overall health

Marie-Claude Pelletier recently observed that the overall health of managers raises questions, and that their psychological distress is extremely worrying. “Particularly since last fall, we have seen employers worry about the mental health of their managers. »

In her webinar presentation, Ms. Pelletier pointed out that managers and business leaders are stuck in a “sandwich” role. In an interview, the President of Global-Watch explained that managers often have to manage paradoxical demands: managing growth and teams in an unstable environment of labor shortages and disruption of the work chain, and in same time inquire about the mental health of their employees.

“This has been extremely demanding for the managers over the past two years, and it is now up to them to pay particular attention,” insists Ms. Pelletier. When we talk about health in a company, we will often focus on employees, but we forget managers. You have to think about it. »

The President of Global-Watch observes the deployment of new business practices such as naming the concern, assessing the risks faced by managers and implementing solutions dedicated to them.

Shecession and compassion fatigue

The Shecession is not just a buzzword, says Ms. Pelletier. “She sees herself everywhere. “The place of women in the workplace has declined significantly due to the pandemic and family-work balance, underlines its president. A situation that will last, she believes.

During the pandemic, women have suffered a higher mental and emotional burden than men, observes Global-Watch. “Women have been interrupted from their work much more than men during the pandemic, because they have acted as caregivers or cared for children left at home. They took care of domestic tasks that did not necessarily fall to men. Interruptions at work are psychologically very demanding. This is what Ms. Pelletier calls compassion fatigue, adding that it has also affected managers in general.

She observes that companies tend to react to the sheassignment. “We are so behind schedule that more and more initiatives are getting underway in companies. When a company sees the challenge of women’s place in the workplace and takes action, it will integrate into its mental health and well-being programs a more comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion strategy,” adds Miss Pelletier.

She specifies that these strategies include not only the place of women, but that of all minorities, whether of religion or sexual orientation.

Millennials in search of meaning

The state of health of millennials is “really worrying”, also worries Ms. Pelletier. “They have less experience in the labor market and may have fewer tools to deal with workplace challenges,” believes Ms. Pelletier.

She adds that millennials are looking for meaning in their work. The instability of the employees bears witness to this, according to the president of Global-Watch, who is experiencing this situation herself as an entrepreneur. “We have an open position and this is the fourth time that we have started the hiring process again,” she confides. I am not the only one. We see it everywhere. »

More and more employee retention strategies are appearing, because people are leaving their jobs, observes Marie-Claude Pelletier. “The pandemic has allowed us to take a step back. Are we on our X? Is this what we want to do in life? “.

In its recommendations during the webinar, Global-Watch suggests, among other things, creating open spaces conducive to dialogue for employees and managers, to help resolve mental health issues. The firm also suggests expanding and developing support programs. According to her, these programs have become factors in attracting and retaining employees.

Pandemic fatigue: from sprint to marathon

Ms. Pelletier believes that the pandemic has made everyone realize what mental health as defined by theWorld Health Organization (WHO). According to the WHO, it is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, which is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Health is thus taken into account as a whole. It is associated with the notion of well-being, adds WHO.

The physical, mental and social pillars are fundamental and companies must now rebuild, maintain and nurture them in daily work. Otherwise, there will be no lasting performance, believes Marie-Claude Pelletier.

The pandemic has exacerbated problems that we were partly aware of, according to Ms. Pelletier. “We have experienced digital fatigue and we are experiencing pandemic fatigue right now. We had to draw on a lot of our resources to constantly adapt: ​​we did a sprint that turned into a marathon and then another, without rest. »

Pandemic fatigue has effects on anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and sleep disturbances, Global-Watch estimates.

Psychosocial risks: it’s the law

Marie-Claude Pelletier recalls that the Act to modernize the occupational health and safety system (Bill no 59, 2021, chapter 27) has since April 6, 2022 required employers to assess psychosocial risks.

“The law comes to recognize psychological illnesses in the portfolio of causes of health problems that are insurable,” she said. The Commission for standards of equity, health and safety at work (CNESST) is thus changing the game, according to Ms. Pelletier. “Employers must therefore be able to measure the issues related to mental health and the ability to perform, both for employees and managers. »

Marie-Claude Pelletier invites companies to equip themselves with a dashboard of indicators to do so. “Including mental health in risk management is extremely important,” adds Ms. Pelletier.

Measure risks

She believes that this shift will unfold over a three-year period. “This is not done by shouting scissors, says Marie-Claude Pelletier. There are common core indicators, such as absenteeism and turnover rates, but we have identified 95 indicators in the literature. »

The president of Global-Watch says she reaches around one million employees in some fifty countries, thanks to her member employers. “Each week, we receive 2,000 to 3,000 mental health and wellbeing news stories around the world. We analyze them,” she says.

Putting too many indicators is another trap, adds Ms. Pelletier. “We don’t follow them well and we place too many administrative constraints for things that we won’t use optimally,” she explains. “It’s like an à la carte menu: you won’t eat everything; you have to prioritize and choose based on criteria and steps. There is a process to follow. You can’t just copy-paste another company’s dashboard,” she warns.

The company that prioritizes mental health will have to measure the problem and then monitor its evolution. “We have never had so many requests for indicators,” reveals the CEO of Global-Watch about measuring the mental health of managers.

She invites companies that survey the mental health of their employees to do so for managers as well. “Managers are speaking out to say they can’t take it anymore. We must put figures, indicators on it! »

Human indicators

Extra-financial performance indicators are trending, notes Marie-Claude Pelletier.

“It is important to have a dashboard that allows us to follow what is heating in the pot. —Marie-Claude Pelletier

“That’s what I call the double bottom line. Rather than informing about the company’s profits or losses, this line tells the company how the health of its people, of the humans through whom financial performance is going, is going. It is important to have a dashboard that allows us to follow what is heating in the pot. »

According to her, this is a necessary step towards sustainable growth. Ms. Pelletier recalls that standards are being developed in this direction on the international scene, citing among others the ISO45003 standard on psychological health and occupational safety. This standard published in 2021 has been expanded to address prevention.

Imagining how to nurture health

Marie-Claude Pelletier invited the President and Chief Executive Officer of Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Isabelle Hudon, to deliver the opening remarks of his webinar. “We live at a particularly anxiety-provoking moment in our history,” said Ms. Hudon.

Isabelle Hudon evoked the horrors in Ukraine, the pandemic which stretches and intensifies isolation and the difficulties of work-life balance. “Our health is collectively weakened by all these successive waves, recent events in Ottawa and elsewhere in the country,” she said.

The CEO of BDC believes that companies must think about how to manage these anxieties, these anxieties “for our employees, for our colleagues”. She adds that employee mental health is now a risk factor for companies. “We must act in favor of mental health and prevent mental illness. I invite you to get out of your comfort zone and imagine initiatives that will nurture not only physical but also mental health, especially at a time when employee retention is a major challenge,” advised Isabelle Hudon.

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Pandemic fatigue affects women and managers

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