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When 2 AM emails sabotage mental health efforts in the workplace

Keynote speaker and mindfulness expert, Pandit Dasa, understands the struggle employees and their employers face in this volatile season of workplace instability.

Pandit Dasa
Photo courtesy Pandit Dasa
Photo courtesy Pandit Dasa

Opinions expressed by Digital Journal contributors are their own.

If you’re like most busy professionals and tethered to your smartphone, feelings of FOMO (fear of missing out) can be hard to ignore. The little notification button on your phone dings, and suddenly Pavlov is standing in your doorway ringing a bell as the instinct to check your phone kicks in. The next thing you know, you’re scrolling through your phone at 2 am, eyes barely open, only to find that a manager at work wants an update on the report for the new client. 

Should you reply now or wait until morning? Surely he can wait. But, if he’s up, maybe he expects you to be up burning the midnight oil, too. Isn’t that the sign of a dedicated employee? 

Meanwhile, your manager just snuggled under the covers without giving a second thought to the email that just disrupted your sleep. Now you’re wide awake, charging up your laptop and reviewing a report that’s not due for another two days.

In our Post-pandemic Era, many employees are struggling under the weight of employer expectations. Combined with the fragility of a new normal, teetering on the edge of everything is a daily battle. Creating a workplace environment that protects the mental health of every employee is no longer an option for businesses. Everything begins and ends with an employee’s mental health, including company success. 

Keynote speaker and mindfulness expert, Pandit Dasa, understands the struggle employees and their employers face in this volatile season of workplace instability. While we’re waiting for the dust to settle, employee health has taken on a new urgency. 

Dasa dedicates his time to encouraging employers to reevaluate how they view mental health, the stigma that still surrounds it and how they can create a workplace environment that promotes healing rather than shame or embarrassment. 

The former monk, turned keynote speaker, has a unique perspective on mindfulness. Dasa’s been on both sides of the high-stress beast and happily prefers the one that begins and ends with meditation and embraces positivity somewhere in the middle. He has not only studied the benefits of mindfulness, but after living in a monastery for fifteen years, he has first-hand knowledge of its benefits.

He’s excited that the future of work involves companies shifting towards dedicated employee programs that encourage work-life balance and a healthy mental state but warns that when employers send mixed messages, employees suffer as well as the company.

When management sends 2 am emails or texts over the weekend during an employee’s personal time, they are blurring the lines and redefining expectations. When an employee is hired for a 9 to 5 but feels like they are on call 24/7, it’s difficult to reconcile the two. 

Instead of putting unnecessary pressure on the employee, leaders can establish guidelines for everyone in the office to follow, including management. Great ideas don’t always come during business hours, but scheduling a late email to go out at a decent hour is possible. 

In his keynote speeches, Dasa says employers can support the mental health of their employees by:

  1. Offering mental health days to employees and allowing them to take them when needed. When mental health days are allowed, often employees can feel intimidated taking them because they don’t want to look “weak” or “lazy.” Leaders can help destigmatize this by taking mental health days themselves. If they take a mental health day, they should tell their employees.
  2. Doing what they tell their employees to do. Just talking about the importance of mental health isn’t enough. Show it in your actions.
  3. Having repeated conversations/check-ins with employees about their mental health.
  4. Offering rewards or instituting a challenge (similar to physical health challenges) that gives points to employees who make time for mental health every day.
  5. Changing their approach to addressing mental health in the workplace. If they don’t, they will directly be adding  to the “quiet quitting” phenomenon.”

Dasa believes that the future of work involves a closer examination of mental health. Removing the stigma, and treating it as part of total health and wellness is key, whether in-person or in a remote workplace.

When companies prioritize mindfulness and mental health, they have a more engaged, productive and fulfilled workforce. Ultimately, any leader who wants to create a successful mental health program for their company must ensure that everyone plays their part. This includes breaking bad habits and establishing new guidelines that everyone in the organization can follow.

Learn more about Pandit Dasa and his passion for helping employers and employees find common ground in the mental health conversation.

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Written By

George Nellist is a public relations, marketing and strategic brand expert who has executed social media and strategic marketing campaigns for a variety of Fortune 500 companies and small businesses. For more information, visit Ascend Agency.

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