While much of the news continues to be dominated by the pandemic, this week’s trends also touch on the issue of mental health ahead of the World Mental Health day.
#1. COVID has wiped out the economic dreams of a generation in Asia
Young people in Asia are faced with the prospect of being financially worse off than their parents for the first time in decades. This is due to the fact that most young people are at the beginning of their careers and work in sectors that have been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those are industries such as wholesale, manufacturing, business services, and accommodation and food service, reports Bloomberg. Women and people who have recently entered the labour market are the most exposed. Consequently, the World Bank anticipates that the current situation will result in additional 38 million people living in poverty.
#2. Business leaders call for urgent reforms as global economy faces its ‘worst state in a century’
Ahead of the annual G20 summit in November, top business leaders have put together a set of 25 policy recommendations designed to turn the economy around amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The three areas covered by these recommendations are: empowering people, safeguarding the planet, and shaping new frontiers. The policy ideas include emphasising workforce resilience, sustainable development, the world’s commitment to carbon neutrality, and digital infrastructure investment. The Chairman of the so-called Business Twenty (B20), a group consisting of high-level CEOs from around the world, said that “the global economy is in its worst state in a century”. If implemented, the B20 Group believes the measures would help the world recover more quickly and sustainably.
#3. A ‘new normal’ for employee benefits? What it could look like
On the eve of the World Mental Health Day, 10 October, we have some good news! It appears that both workers and employers are beginning to put more emphasis on health – and more specifically, on mental health. This is reflected, among other things, in the work benefits companies now offer. According to a recent survey from consultants Willis Towers Watson, 47% of employers have recently enhanced healthcare benefits, 45% have boosted well-being programs, and 33% have tweaked paid time off and vacation days. As many of our work expectations and preferences have changed due to COVID-19, more and more employees demand flexible schedules, mental health services, and online fitness or meditation apps while more and more employers are investing to meet these demands.
#4. How ‘Feierabend’ helps Germans disconnect from the workday
With the recent transformation of the way we work, many employees have been struggling to set a clear end to their workdays. Working from home has made this more difficult, but in Germany, they are reluctant to give up on their ‘Feierabend’, the period after work used for resting and winding down. With fewer opportunities to commute and create a psychological barrier between work and one’s personal life, many Germans have begun to fake the routine of coming back from work. For instance, they put on running shoes and go for a jog or alternatively take a bike ride to clear their heads. For people like Gene Gerrienne, a 31-year-old country manager, “Feierabend means to connect to your core, meaning your family, your friends or your hobbies”, and it is essential for one’s mental health and good work-life balance. To read more about ‘Feierabend,’ check out this BBC article.
#5. Global study: 82% of people believe robots can support their mental health better than humans
2020 has been the most stressful year in history for the global workforce. That’s at least according to a new study co-authored by Oracle, the cloud computing company. Surveying more than 12,000 employees, managers, HR leaders, and C-suite executives across 11 countries, it appears that the vast majority expect robots – more than humans – to help them cope with mental health issues. Three-quarters of those surveyed (75%) say AI has helped their mental health at work, and more than two-thirds of them (68%) would prefer to talk to a robot over their manager about stress and anxiety at work. Furthermore, and as reported by PR Newswire, 80% of people are open to having a robot as a therapist or counselor! For more information about the findings of the study, see here.