Linked: NBA star Kevin Love on mental health struggles, success, getting Covid
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Linked: NBA star Kevin Love on mental health struggles, success, getting Covid

This quote from Kevin Love is something that just stood out to me because it’s something that I think is so important to understand. Not just for a professional athlete, but for any of us to remember about our own line of work, or to remember when it comes to young people in school:

“You can’t achieve yourself out of depression,” Love says. “You can’t achieve yourself out of that high-level of anxiety.”

Linked: When Workplace Mindfulness Training Is Worse Than Nothing
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Linked: When Workplace Mindfulness Training Is Worse Than Nothing

We’ve seen the memes. The ones about the law firm offering a lunch hour yoga class to overworked, stressed, associates who haven’t had time to even take a lunch break in months. Or the “reward” for months of 70-80 hour work weeks is free pizza. It just makes people angry because it’s a token that does nothing to actually recognize the work involved, or correct the problems that created this mess to start with.

Workplace stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues are not just something a little mindfulness can fix. Workers are waking up to the fact that it’s the company culture that is contributing to this. Offering a way for employees to help “fix” themselves might seem like a nice thing, and in many ways it is, but doing it while not making any effort to recognize the contributions managers and corporate culture make to the problem, along with a commitment to make changes, is the very definition of “too little”.

Linked: Making workplaces better for people struggling with mental health will make work better for everyone
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Linked: Making workplaces better for people struggling with mental health will make work better for everyone

The reality is if you allow people to be flexible and get their work done in the way that makes the most sense for them, individually, they will all benefit from that decision. There won’t be a fairness issue because of some accommodation because everyone is getting the accommodation they need to do their best work.

What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that what management says they want?

Linked: Will mental health resources evaporate post-pandemic?
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Linked: Will mental health resources evaporate post-pandemic?

It just goes to show what I’ve always said, your company is not your family, it’s not even a friend, and it will always do what is good for itself first, second, and always. If something also happens to be good for you, great, but that’s never been the goal, so you have to make decisions based on what is good for you, not the company.

If you think that’s an overly negative thing to say about CEOs and upper management, go read those percentages again, and consider how many of those same people expect your loyalty, and your dedication during difficult times, without offering the same in return. Also, consider how many HR people have proclaimed themselves as being there for employees, and yet also think employees expect too much. It’s not overly negative when it’s true.

Linked: Work burnout rises despite company investments in mental health
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Linked: Work burnout rises despite company investments in mental health

As I’ve said before, many employers did the easy stuff. They invested in some mental health tools, promoted using employee assistance programs, talked more about mental health, heck they even gave people more time off or at least pushed people to actually use the time off they hadn’t been. And yet, here we are. Why?

Because they haven’t yet done the hard work of making the workplace not the place that hurts mental health to start with. There’s no easy fix for that. It won’t happen in a few weeks, but if you don’t start looking at it, you’re going to find yourself without many employees to keep going. Because in 2021, people have options, and those options are only going to keep growing as younger generations make very different decisions about their careers than those of us in older generations are used to.

The workplace will change one way or another. If your’s doesn’t want to, it will be killed.