Mental Health and the Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions in the Workplace: Marc Beland
Description: Marc Beland underlines the role of the union, the employer and occupational health and safety committees during the easing of COVID-19-related restrictions in the workplace.
Date: November 23, 2020
[Text on screen: "Mental health and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the workplace: A workplace safety professional"]
[Text on screen: "The COVID-19 pandemic can cause major stress inmany areas of our lives."]
[Text on screen: "Easing workplace restrictions can trigger new anxieties. We need to think about the impact on mental health."]
[Marc Béland, Health and Safety Representative, Public Service Alliance of Canada, National Capital Region, addresses the camera.]
Marc Béland, Health and Safety Representative for the National Capital Region with the Public Service Alliance. The anxiety around returning to work is mainly a matter of the unknown. How will it all work? How will employees do their jobs? How many people will there be in the workplace? We don't have the answers to these questions yet. As we prepare for the return, we need to take employees' mental health into account. This means having policy and work place health and safety committees take part in the preparation of the return-to-work plans. Beyond the health and safety committees, unions will also play a key role by helping employees navigate the various processes, supporting members who need assistance and negotiating accommodation requests with employers. Of course, employees can start preparing on their own too. If they'll be taking public transit to work, they can practise using it before the return, maybe go into their workplaces and set foot in the buildings. They can work themselves up to the return slowly, gradually, and of course consult a professional if necessary. For the return to the workplace to go smoothly, employees need to feel secure and have faith in their employers and unions. Employers—and unions, if necessary—also need to provide clear and concise information to their employees beforehand. Though there's no set return date yet, employees can do several things to care for their mental health when it comes to going back to the workplace: preparing themselves mentally, speaking with their unions and the employer to ensure they're well acquainted with the guidelines and, of course, reaching out to their employer and unions if any complications or issues arise when they do return.
[Animation of a book flipping open followed by "canada.ca/school."]
["Canada" and an image of the Canadian flag appear on screen.]
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