Almost two years into the global fight against COVID-19, the pandemic has clearly not only impacted physical health, but mental health too. Stress and anxiety triggered by uncertainties and seismic shifts in the way we live and work are more common than we think.
A poll conducted by SG Mental Health Matters in 2021 revealed that 51.2 per cent of respondents felt that restrictions on social activities and interactions have negatively impacted their mental health, while 44 per cent said the same of changes to work and school.
“Mental wellness has often been an understated area of focus, but the pandemic has turned the spotlight on it, and rightfully so,” says Welch Er, Head of Human Resources at SingLand.
“As an employer, it is important that we are proactive in ensuring the mental well-being of our staff. They are our most important asset and we recognise that when they are mentally healthy, a strong foundation is laid for them to be motivated and to reach their full potential.”
MAKING MENTAL WELLNESS A PRIORITY
In 2021, SingLand put mental wellness at the forefront through an array of initiatives and programmes aimed at bettering the emotional, psychological and social well-being of our staff.
Spearheaded by Ms Er and Summer Kang, Assistant General Manager of Human Resources, the efforts include mindfulness workshops, virtual art jamming sessions and the launch of Headspace, a mental wellness digital platform that allows employees to practise mindfulness and meditation independently.
“By providing employees with access to this resource, we want to equip them to take care of their mental well-being on their own terms,” says Ms Kang on the introduction of Headspace.
“…we recognise that when [staff] are mentally healthy, a strong foundation is laid for them to be motivated and to reach their full potential.”
– Welch Er, Head of Human Resources
BUILDING A STRONG SUPPORT SYSTEM
Of course, maintaining a healthy state of mind often requires more than individual effort. It calls for the support of those around us too. Beyond equipping staff with resources, a strong support system in the workplace is equally important. With this in mind, department supervisors underwent mental wellness training to be equipped to assist team members who need help.
The SingLand Employee Assistance Programme was also introduced in 2021 to help employees cope with personal, family or work-related challenges. Through the programme, employees are given free access to a professional counsellor with full assurance of confidentiality.
“We hope these initiatives will help to remove stigmas that have often been associated with mental health issues and allow for more open conversations about it in the workplace,” says Ms Kang.
The aim is to foster and sustain a work culture that is empathic — one that employees feel safe and supported in. Undoubtedly, it requires both intention and commitment. As we prepare for the eventual return to the office and the large-scale adoption of hybrid working, changes are set to be a constant. In the same way, the work of caring for our staff holistically is a perpetual one and it is an endeavour we are committed to in ensuring a healthy and vibrant workforce.