“The pandemic completely changed our approach to mental health in the workplace,” says Justyna Urbaniak, Health & Safety Supervisor at Volvo Group Poland. “Isolation, fear for health and life, changes in the environment and the way we work, made us analyze thoughts and feelings that we had not noticed before.
“During this difficult time, we realized that caring for emotional balance is an important part of a holistic approach to the happiness of every human being. To meet the needs of our employees, we focused on organizing initiatives to ensure maximum support for everyone.”
Designed to train leaders to identify stress and burnout, and recognize signals that something is wrong. Clear guidelines on when to act and what to do mean a lot of the guesswork is eliminated, and managers can support employees with confidence.
Employees can call or email at any time with any problem – big or small, work-related or personal. Assistance is confidential and the service is able to make referrals to further treatment, if needed, all of which is paid for by Volvo Group – no matter the cost or duration. Feedback from employees shows that this kind of support is vital, and more than ever during the pandemic.
Movement and physical balance is inextricably linked to mental health, and Volvo Group Poland provides guided Yoga Power mornings and afternoons for a healthy spine three times a week. Previous to the pandemic, these classes were offered in person, but are still heavily attended after having been moved online.
Teaching employees how to deal with stress, avoid it, and master it. Mindfulness activates the self-regulating processes of our body which can reduce physical and mental stress symptoms.
Attracting hundreds of listeners, content ranges from issues related to daily work to those associated with private life. When it comes to stress, there is no border between work and home. Each webinar is followed by Q&A sessions, facilitating open discussion of diverse mental health issues.
Alicja Zarzycka, Country Manager Employer Branding Volvo Group Poland, says the effort they have put into communicating the initiatives is working.
“People need it,” she says, noting the incredible levels of engagement with the webinars in particular. Each 1.5 hour webinar is followed by half an hour of questions, and there, she says, there are no borders, with people sharing openly their experiences with sensitive and important mental health issues.
Alicja Zarzycka says the initiatives will continue long after the pandemic fades, and that awareness of mental health in the workplace and investment is absolutely vital for companies.
“All companies across all industries, whatever they do, blue or white collar, this applies to everyone,” she says. “When it comes to mental health, there is no division. This is something companies need to take responsibility for. More than ever, it is essential for companies to find their voice, communicate their core values and demonstrate them through words and actions. Accepting mental health as a part of workplace happiness – this is what employer branding should center on.”
“It’s an ecosystem,” she continues, “Happy employees, happy work environment, happy clients, happy family, happy company in general. We are all connected.”