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Prioritising Workplace Wellness For Women

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact around the country, but in South Africa, women have borne a disproportionate burden of the psychological, social, and economic consequences of the virus.

Most people spend more time at work than anywhere else and with many people working from home as a result of the pandemic and the lockdown, the line between work and personal time has become increasingly blurred.

At its core, corporate wellness calls on companies to champion a holistic approach to employee wellbeing, and global healthcare company Organon is calling on companies to look at corporate wellness from a different angle with an increased focus on supporting women.

Women Under Pressure

Over 40% of South African households are headed by women and in those that aren’t, women play a primary role as caregivers. Those that are able to work from home during the pandemic not only have to deal with the pressures of working extended virtual hours and intrusion on their private time, but also have to deal with virtual schooling, irritable house-bound family members, and the constant risk of close relatives contracting the virus.

For those unable to work from home, the situation is bleaker, with the threat, or reality of losing their livelihoods as a result of the economic fallout from the lockdown.

A survey on mental health conducted by SADAG during the COVID-19 lockdown found that 55% of participants expressed feelings of anxiety and panic, and 28% of employees were experiencing constant high levels of both psychological and physical distress, with more women than men experiencing physical suffering.

While 49% of employees were highly concerned about the future, the top three concerns were the country's economy, childcare, and schooling, as well as family health and wellbeing.

“Recognising women are foundational to a healthier world, our goal is to create a better, healthier every day for every woman,” said Organon Managing Director, Abofele Khoele.

Workplace Wellness Tips During Covid-19

  • Be realistic about what can be achieved.

  • Maintain a daily routine as much as possible – get up, get dressed, create a to-do list, etc.

  • Keep the hours you work in check and be mindful of work-life balance.

  • Stay in touch with family and friends.

  • Eat well, prioritise sleep, and stay physically fit.

  • Try and find time to switch off from technology.

  • Monitor warning signs of poor mental health.

  • Reach out to mentors and colleagues for support.

  • Maintain interests outside work.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Access information and support services.

  • Consult your company’s Human Resources or Employee Assistance Programme provider if you have one.5

Don’t forget to take leave. Even if you’re just staying at home, taking time away from work is vital for your mental health. Your body needs time to switch off and recharge. Chronic workplace stress that is not managed will result in burnout.

“We know women face many healthcare challenges. And while there has been a lot said about the topic, their concerns haven’t been heard or understood nearly well enough,” says Dr. Abofele Khoele.

Author: Tranica Ramsunder



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