COVID-19 only adds to the mental health crisis we were already facing – MuMbrella

Posted: April 15, 2020 at 11:44 am

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How we choose to show up in this moment as leaders has ramifications for each of us, our people and our industry.

And retaining our creative strength and taking care of our people will be vital to our commercial survival and protecting our industry culture to continue to attract amazing talent.

Our industry had a mental health crisis before this crisis. The experience of countries ahead of us as COVID-19 has unfolded shows that mental wellbeing goes downhill from week three, so we must act with urgency or things will get worse. The usual shell be right Aussie attitude wont cut it.

Ultimately, we cannot fool ourselves into thinking were just working from home right now. The reality is that we are confined, trying to work.


Data collected through polls of over 1,000 people over the past two weeks shows the negative impact this massive disruption is already having. And we have a long way to go.

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Only 20% of people actually love WFH. If you dont love where you work, how do you produce your best work?

Emotionally, 83% of us are negatively impacted in ways that impact our ability to be creative and productive.

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To thrive, well need to use our creative superpowers on ourselves. We are the brief. We start where all great briefs start, with real data and insights on how people are feeling right now, and what is impacting their creativity.

From there, we need to immediately implement a plan that fosters creativity and wellbeing:

Dedicate 90 minutes a week to connect, learn and practice how to be well with new skills that will help your team perform under pressure. Preferably at the same time for everyone, role modelled by the leadership team. Thats less than 4% of the working week to positively impact the remaining 96%.

Check in regularly with your people on their emotional sentiment and keep the dialogue two-way and open.

Best practice is to use a wellbeing diagnostic to understand where to prioritise for greatest impact.

Create space to be creative and do focused work. Trial a Power Hour at the same time every day across the business to give permission for time to be creative and to not be on with others constantly.

Up-skill leaders, fast, on how to lead through uncertainty by building their emotional intelligence capabilities.

Validate the toughness of this situation. Reframe challenges as opportunities and remain positive about what lies ahead whilst being authentic about not knowing whats ahead.

Create a sense of belonging. Watch your language, and change it to represent we rather than I. Overcommunicate and celebrate collaboration regularly.

Establish a transition program that fills future skills gaps and retains valuable talent.

Find a way to celebrate creativity during adversity as a collective. Maybe we assemble Team Australia to tackle the UN brief together?

As an industry, create opportunities to share our experiences and work together to protect our creative prowess.

Were in this together. Whatever steps we take now will pay dividends for the future, for creativity and for retaining our best people where they thrive, and deliver their best work in these challenging times.

We have a choice to make: Thrive, survive, or decline.

Fleur Marks is chief wellbeing officer of Well You, and was previously director of wellbeing and talent development at WPP AUNZ. Sean Hall is CEO of human performance company Energx.

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COVID-19 only adds to the mental health crisis we were already facing - MuMbrella

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April 15th, 2020 at 11:44 am

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