Business and professional workplaces have faced increasing changes recently. From the shift of working from home and its impact on society, to employing new hires, who align with your mission and vision, while also bringing sought-after skills—The workplace is changing dramatically.
Gen Z has a lot to offer to the workplace, with new insights and ideas for their older colleagues. These range from what to do with emerging technologies and platforms (i.e., the metaverse), content creation (i.e., TikToks and Reels) and taking a more active role as a company (i.e., advocacy and brand activism).
Since Covid-19 spread across the world, isolating people to their homes and disrupting the way we live, something that has stood out most is the importance of having someone to talk to. We have seen hundreds of people calling hot lines just for to talk to someone. The importance of having a sense of community in these times cannot be underestimated.
In an increasingly fast paced world, it is difficult to find time to be there for people and even for ourselves. As a consequence, spaces to talk about mental health are shrinking. The day has therefore been set aside to create supportive communities by having conversations with family, friends, or colleagues about mental health. We all have mental health. By talking about it, we can support ourselves and others. At its core, mentoring is about helping another person. A mentor is somebody who advises, supports and guides another in the right direction.
There are many benefits of mentoring, which is why this type of relationship is established in schools, universities and organisations the world over. Many celebrities have cited their mentors as having played a huge role in their success, and finding a mentor is on the top of many people's career development lists.
But less often discussed is the positive impact, for both the mentee and the mentor, that the relationship has on mental health and wellbeing.
Here's a list of things mentoring is proven to help:
1. Supporting isolation
2. Reducing levels of anxiety
3. Increasing self-confidence
4. Feeling listened to
5. Providing hope for the future
This is truly powerful and can make a huge difference in the lives of those suffering from poor mental health. If running a mentoring programme tailored towards mental health support specifically, ensure your mentors have received adequate training in how to broach topics surrounding the future, so as not to overwhelm or panic their mentees.
Typically, mentors may look to discuss and set long term career or personal goals with their mentees. However, for someone suffering from mental health issues this could be overwhelming and lead to them putting undue pressure on themselves. Mentors need to be aware of this and work on short term achievable goals to boost confidence and reduce anxiety.
The nine-to-five in-office workplace isn’t coming back. Remote work is now globally pervasive, and a Gallup Survey last fall revealed that working from home — including various hybrid arrangements — is trending permanent. As of September 2021, 45% of U.S. employees were working partly or fully remotely, and 91% of them planned to continue some level of remote work post-pandemic; in fact, 58% would consider leaving their current jobs if access to remote arrangements vanished. When combined with evidence showing that remote workers are as or more productive than their in-office counterparts, it’s clear that remote work is here to stay.
With this shift comes the need for managers and leaders to master virtual mentorship. Four decades of research leaves no doubt that employees with access to positive mentoring relationships accrue numerous personal and professional benefits. And when mentoring is a discernible element of a company culture, retention and advancement of talented new employees is enhanced. But how can managers shift their approach to initiating and nurturing these relationships when prospective mentees aren’t physically present?
Many individuals incorrectly presume that physical proximity is essential in developmental relationships. But like work itself, mentoring is defined less by the medium in which it is accomplished than by the outcomes delivered. Commitment, trust, relationship quality, and mentor competence are the real ingredients of developmental growth, all of which can be applied to virtual mentorship.
Virtual mentoring is rife with distinct advantages for the new environment of remote and hybrid work. Recent research on virtual developmental relationships indicates that this form of mentoring can be more egalitarian; visual status cues signaling organizational status and physical stature are minimized in video-based conversations by reducing all parties to a voice and screen of equal size. Moreover, where cross gender mentoring may feel fraught, the opportunity for virtual engagement can decrease anxiety about in-person meetings. Virtual mentorship also removes the hindrances of shared space and geography, since online options allow more flexibility in mentor/mentee schedules and locations. The ability to record and transcribe mentoring sessions can enable mentoring partners to refer to and reflect on a past conversation and, if shared, enables others to learn vicariously. Finally, wide availability of translation apps and closed captioning on most virtual platforms now extends a mentor’s impact to a global population of prospective mentees and more inclusive of those with disabilities.