The World Health Organisation together with partner organisations, United for Global Mental Health and the World Federation for Mental Health are using this year’s World Mental Health Day to call for increased investment in mental health. As the world tackles the fallout of COVID-19 it has never been more important to encourage an industry-wide focus on the wellbeing of employees and drive the need to treat mental health with the same respect as physical health and safety.
2020 has been a year where our focus on mental health has been propelled forward. Aside from the anxiety concerning our heightened attention to personal health and safety, and the rules imposed by governing bodies to keep us safe, the move to virtual working has disrupted the delicate balance between personal and professional lives. Whilst the home environment has traditionally offered a safe sanctuary and a divide between work and non-work life, this has now changed for many people.
In the face of this, and in light of the pace at which COVID-19 occurred, the global pandemic continues to impact our lives and it is understandable, if not essential, that increased investment in the wellbeing of our people has been and will remain essential.
WSP in the Middle East has not been immune to these changes and consequently our people are all shouldering challenges associated with the global pandemic.
“As a professional services firm, our people are our greatest asset and we believe we have a duty of care for both their physical and mental wellbeing. Even though the pandemic itself is affecting physical health, we are acutely aware of our responsibility to enhance the solutions we have in place to take care of our people and their emotional needs.
“Over the last few years we have been training and developing our cohort of Mental Health First Aiders and doing all we can to demonstrate our commitment to breaking the stigma surrounding mental health by collaborating with mental health experts and working with partners in our industry. This has been an important foundation of support for our people this year.” Greg Kane, CEO, WSP Middle East.
Although we anticipated issues would arise as our people adjusted to the new realities imposed by the global pandemic, we were unable to fully predict the challenges they would face when dealing with factors that aren’t traditionally associated with the workplace; the impact of home schooling, isolation and government restrictions are all challenges that we must remain mindful of. In light of this, we invested our time and leadership effort into listening to our people and connecting with experts to help all of us navigate the complex scenarios in which we find ourselves.
Throughout 2020 we have invested in delivering health and wellbeing webinars on a weekly basis to employees. This allowed us to cover a wide range of topics that recognised the many different scenarios people may have been facing. We have also insisted that people still take time off work and rest, which has always been a primary principle of our wellbeing approach and even more so in the past months.
As we move towards 2021 we will continue to invest time and energy towards supporting our people and positively influencing industry stakeholders; anticipating the needs of individuals where possible, and encouraging the collective investment into mental health. As an industry, we need to invest more in thinking, planning and collaborating to discover solutions that truly support our people and their wellbeing, whilst focusing on the creation of safe, comfortable, and supportive working environments.