Health and well-being is moving to center stage
Guest Author: Fintan McGovern
The first 4 months of the year 2020 will go down in history as one of the periods of fastest change the world has ever experienced. Not a shot was fired or a country invaded, yet the global economic picture has changed dramatically.
As W.B Yeats wrote in his poem Easter, 1916,
All changed , changed utterly: a terrible beauty is born
We are indeed living in turbulent and worrying times that are challenging our view on how we go about our day to day life. From work to sport, things have become stalled, blocked and the norm no longer applies. So what is the big learning in this ‘Black Swan’ of Black Swan events? A Black Swan event is defined by Investopedia as:-
an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. Black swan events are characterized by their extreme rarity, their severe impact, and the widespread insistence they were obvious in hindsight
Everything has changed
My assessment is the following; that at the center of everything that we have taken for granted over the last few years via technological advances and globalization is that we, the human, are fragile. We have been taken down (albeit temporarily), the global economy has been stopped and put into temporary hibernation by a virus, which has also brought terrible tragedy and immense loss of life. Despite all our developments, we are susceptible to an invisible virus that attacks the weak and most vulnerable.
Covid-19 has ripped across the world like wildfire and one of the major consequences is the ‘brute force’ response by nations as they implore and request us as humans to keep apart: the very antithesis of human nature which needs and desires social contact. Social distancing and lock-down strategies have been the main and most effective response. Cocooning, self-isolation, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, staying at home, are the basic methods that the world are using to fight the Covid peril.
Employee health and well-being
One of the biggest changes that has been thrust upon us is that a majority of us must find a way to work from home. Google were first out of the blocks in Ireland to direct that their employees work from home. Why Google? They could most likely see the data and the scale at which the Covid-19 was blazing across the world and they made an early call that was soon reflected by most other employers. Working from home presents a clear and present challenge to the health and well-being of all employees. Why so? Well most employees are used to going to an office; the daily and weekly commute has now been replaced by commuting to a kitchen table, a room, a desk as endless Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype and GoTo meeting requests are answered and duties fulfilled. Teams that were used to physical meetings, person to person and team to team, are now remote and viewed through a virtual lens. I believe that the next stage that we in our workplace ( virtual or real) will now have to face is how best to monitor and ensure that our teams can achieve peak performance in a new environment and way of working.
Working from home
Working from home presents many challenges. How do we know how our fellow workers are really doing? How are they managing, leading and working their way through this? I will draw the analogy to the customers and users of our platform Metrifit who successfully use our platform to monitor the health and well-being of their athlete, to ensure they can optimize their performance and achieve best results. Employers have a duty of care for the wellness of their work teams. Now that we are working remotely we are in a vacuum. So how will employers and employees bridge that gap that has now suddenly been thrust upon us? I believe that the employees mental health and well-being will become central to the future of work.
I was speaking last week with a former work colleague of mine who is a Global HR Director is a large multinational organisation with 77,000 global employees. Whilst we were casually chatting and talking about how Covid-19 is affecting everything, he mentioned to me that right now all of those employees are all working remotely. He went on to say that pressures for employees working from home was beginning to show. Employees were beginning to report in sick with mental health issues as the home environment is not always conducive to a long-term healthy situation for everyone. The balance of home life and work life is changed and probably not the healthiest. What will be needed is a way for managers and teams to connect when remote from them; similar to the way team coaches and players connect on Metrifit. And perhaps Metrifit can play a part in this new world that is dawning right now. I believe that unless employers find a good way to connect and help the employees through this there will be a lot more mental health issues post Covid-19.
About the Author
We would like to thank our guest author Fintan McGovern. Fintan is currently the chairman of Metrifit, and was the co-founder and former CEO of Firmwave, an Irish technology company that was acquired by Taoglas in July 2019. His previous roles include working as an Irish Defence Forces army officer, working in emerging markets in natural resources in Africa, and in telecoms in the Caribbean. He studied business at GMIT, received an MBA from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, and most recently graduated from the Advanced Management and Leadership Programme at Said Business School, University of Oxford.
Coaches, athletic trainers and other support staff use Metrifit to monitor the health and well-being of their players. Metrifit is an excellent tool to monitor, evaluate and make the right decisions for your athlete’s well-being and performance on a day to day basis and to address an issue or potential issue in real time. From some of our previous guest blogs you can read all about how Metrifit are helping some of the most successful teams achieve and maintain that optimum performance.
To find out more visit our Introducing Metrifit page or contact us at for a free demo.
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