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压力飙升,美国科技公司员工遭遇心理危机

压力飙升,美国科技公司员工遭遇心理危机

Jonathan Vanian 2020年07月24日
如今,美国科技公司的员工普遍出现了心理健康问题。

贝琪·萨特做了三十多年人力资源工作,但目前很多同事出现了心理问题,令他们备受煎熬,这让她措手不及。

作为企业软件公司VMware的首席人力资源官,萨特的工作很有挑战性。她要帮助3万多名员工度过新冠疫情、严重的经济衰退和全国对种族主义的清算。专家表示,员工们要担忧如此多的问题,难怪会出现前所未有的心理健康危机。

在美国各地爆发反对种族主义和警察暴力执法的抗议活动几天之后,萨特似乎已经不堪重负。VMware员工之前已经在承受着新冠疫情和继续在家办公所带来的压力。萨特说:“实话实说,我从来没有经受过这样的挑战,这让我背负着沉重的负担,而且情绪多变,因为我要想办法解决这种困境。我看到真有人精神崩溃了。”

但就这种现象来说,萨特并不孤单。

她在思科(Cisco)和慧与公司(Hewlett Packard Enterprise)等科技巨头的同行也有类似的感受,因为令人沮丧的消息和孤立无助的感觉,让员工的士气低迷,增加了心理健康问题。思科的首席人力资源官弗兰·卡苏达斯说,新冠疫情“放大了”坦诚讨论心理健康问题的必要性。心理健康在美国职场通常被视为禁忌。她说:“大家承受的压力飙升,公司的员工在某种程度上是相互孤立的。”

了解黑人员工的创伤

黑人员工目前的处境异常艰难。在乔治·弗洛伊德死于明尼阿波利斯警察执法过程之前,已经有很多非洲裔美国人死于执法人员之手,包括布伦娜·泰勒、斯蒂芬·克拉克和菲兰多·卡斯蒂尔等,这些痛苦的事实在提醒着我们非洲裔美国人所面临的困境。

在当前的财务危机中,黑人员工受到的影响比其白人同事更加严重。例如,《财富》杂志和SurveyMonkey最近的一项调查发现“黑人成年人被裁员或临时解雇的可能性是白人成年人的两倍。”

无党派客观研究机构芝加哥大学(University of Chicago)国家民意研究中心(NORC)受数据基金会(Data Foundation)智库委托进行的研究发现,非洲裔美国人身边有人死于新冠肺炎的概率,高于白人。

思科的全球包容事务负责人特雷·博因顿说她最近几周的感受是悲伤和“无法表达”的压抑感交织。博因顿是一位黑人。她谈到了葬礼对黑人社区的重要性:“在悲伤的日子里,我们会聚在一起。”但对大型集会的限制和对感染致命病毒的恐惧,意味着教堂这种传统的集会场所被关闭,造成孤立无援和孤独的感觉。

虽然“不必要的生命损失造成的严重无力感”令博因顿疲惫不堪,但她认为她“从未听过美国像现在这样讨论系统性种族主义”。

慧与的首席多元化官迈克尔·洛佩兹说,公司“必须保证让非洲裔美国人员工感受到公司听到了他们的声音,看到了他们的处境。”为此,慧与的首席执行官安东尼奥·内里,即使最近新冠检测呈阳性(但身体状况良好,因此仍然在坚持工作),也没有停止与黑人员工的虚拟“倾听之旅”。

虽然洛佩兹拒绝评论会议的详情,但他说这些会议强调了“组织更广泛地参与令人不适的,或者按照我的说法,勇敢的种族问题讨论的重要性。”

治愈伤痛

慧与的首席人力资源官艾伦·梅说,管理层一直在鼓励员工注意心理健康问题。管理人员在接受培训,学习如何发现预警信号,从而敦促员工接受心理治疗。梅说:“我们鼓励领导者每周与每一位员工交流,了解他们的状态,而不是谈论工作问题。”

他补充说,慧与提供Headspace冥想应用程序的免费账户,可以帮助员工缓解压力。他说,在一个月内有约9,000名员工登陆了这款应用程序,表明员工迫切需要身心放松。

组织心理学家、高管辅导公司Thrive Leadership的创始合伙人凯斯琳·斯沃迪说,冥想应用对于新手冥想者有用。这些冥想应用还有助于正念。所谓正念是关注当下,察觉内心的想法或身体的感受,但不不作任何反应。斯沃迪说:“正念的关键在于专注当下,不忧过往,因为过往往往令人感到压力,也不惧未来,因为未来会产生更多焦虑。”

与此同时,思科坚持举行员工视频会议,有时候会邀请医生回答一些与新冠疫情有关的基本问题,以帮助缓解员工对新冠病毒的焦虑。梅解释说,“在人们没有社交集会进行哀悼的时候”,这类虚拟会议可以弥补这方面的缺失。

财务困境

另外一个令员工不安的原因是导致大规模裁员的财务危机。许多仍然有工作的员工担心被炒鱿鱼,因为一旦被裁,他们将更难支付医疗保险,导致他们无法接受心理健康治疗的风险增加。

2020年年初,在新冠疫情爆发之前,VMware进行了一次裁员,但裁员人数不明。对于部分被裁的员工,VMware可以“扩大医疗保险的覆盖范围”,这对于在今年春天疫情最严重的时候被裁员和仍未找到工作的人有很大的帮助。萨特说VMware会为被裁撤的员工提供灵活的选择,以帮助他们度过难关。

接受采访的高管基本上都提到了为员工提供一个安全场所谈论个人生活与压力的必要性,而且不止是在当前的艰难时期。例如,卡苏达斯说,思科多年来一直鼓励员工认真对待自己的心理健康问题。比如在两年前,名厨、作家安东尼·伯尔顿自杀身亡之后,思科的首席执行官罗卓克给员工发了一封邮件,强调了心理健康问题的严肃性。卡苏达斯说:“令人诧异的是,员工都给罗卓克回邮件,讲述自己的故事。”

随着疫情的持续蔓延和种族正义问题的持续推动,员工肯定会有更多与心理健康有关的问题愿意分享。(财富中文网)

译者:Biz

贝琪·萨特做了三十多年人力资源工作,但目前很多同事出现了心理问题,令他们备受煎熬,这让她措手不及。

作为企业软件公司VMware的首席人力资源官,萨特的工作很有挑战性。她要帮助3万多名员工度过新冠疫情、严重的经济衰退和全国对种族主义的清算。专家表示,员工们要担忧如此多的问题,难怪会出现前所未有的心理健康危机。

在美国各地爆发反对种族主义和警察暴力执法的抗议活动几天之后,萨特似乎已经不堪重负。VMware员工之前已经在承受着新冠疫情和继续在家办公所带来的压力。萨特说:“实话实说,我从来没有经受过这样的挑战,这让我背负着沉重的负担,而且情绪多变,因为我要想办法解决这种困境。我看到真有人精神崩溃了。”

但就这种现象来说,萨特并不孤单。

她在思科(Cisco)和慧与公司(Hewlett Packard Enterprise)等科技巨头的同行也有类似的感受,因为令人沮丧的消息和孤立无助的感觉,让员工的士气低迷,增加了心理健康问题。思科的首席人力资源官弗兰·卡苏达斯说,新冠疫情“放大了”坦诚讨论心理健康问题的必要性。心理健康在美国职场通常被视为禁忌。她说:“大家承受的压力飙升,公司的员工在某种程度上是相互孤立的。”

了解黑人员工的创伤

黑人员工目前的处境异常艰难。在乔治·弗洛伊德死于明尼阿波利斯警察执法过程之前,已经有很多非洲裔美国人死于执法人员之手,包括布伦娜·泰勒、斯蒂芬·克拉克和菲兰多·卡斯蒂尔等,这些痛苦的事实在提醒着我们非洲裔美国人所面临的困境。

在当前的财务危机中,黑人员工受到的影响比其白人同事更加严重。例如,《财富》杂志和SurveyMonkey最近的一项调查发现“黑人成年人被裁员或临时解雇的可能性是白人成年人的两倍。”

无党派客观研究机构芝加哥大学(University of Chicago)国家民意研究中心(NORC)受数据基金会(Data Foundation)智库委托进行的研究发现,非洲裔美国人身边有人死于新冠肺炎的概率,高于白人。

思科的全球包容事务负责人特雷·博因顿说她最近几周的感受是悲伤和“无法表达”的压抑感交织。博因顿是一位黑人。她谈到了葬礼对黑人社区的重要性:“在悲伤的日子里,我们会聚在一起。”但对大型集会的限制和对感染致命病毒的恐惧,意味着教堂这种传统的集会场所被关闭,造成孤立无援和孤独的感觉。

虽然“不必要的生命损失造成的严重无力感”令博因顿疲惫不堪,但她认为她“从未听过美国像现在这样讨论系统性种族主义”。

慧与的首席多元化官迈克尔·洛佩兹说,公司“必须保证让非洲裔美国人员工感受到公司听到了他们的声音,看到了他们的处境。”为此,慧与的首席执行官安东尼奥·内里,即使最近新冠检测呈阳性(但身体状况良好,因此仍然在坚持工作),也没有停止与黑人员工的虚拟“倾听之旅”。

虽然洛佩兹拒绝评论会议的详情,但他说这些会议强调了“组织更广泛地参与令人不适的,或者按照我的说法,勇敢的种族问题讨论的重要性。”

治愈伤痛

慧与的首席人力资源官艾伦·梅说,管理层一直在鼓励员工注意心理健康问题。管理人员在接受培训,学习如何发现预警信号,从而敦促员工接受心理治疗。梅说:“我们鼓励领导者每周与每一位员工交流,了解他们的状态,而不是谈论工作问题。”

他补充说,慧与提供Headspace冥想应用程序的免费账户,可以帮助员工缓解压力。他说,在一个月内有约9,000名员工登陆了这款应用程序,表明员工迫切需要身心放松。

组织心理学家、高管辅导公司Thrive Leadership的创始合伙人凯斯琳·斯沃迪说,冥想应用对于新手冥想者有用。这些冥想应用还有助于正念。所谓正念是关注当下,察觉内心的想法或身体的感受,但不不作任何反应。斯沃迪说:“正念的关键在于专注当下,不忧过往,因为过往往往令人感到压力,也不惧未来,因为未来会产生更多焦虑。”

与此同时,思科坚持举行员工视频会议,有时候会邀请医生回答一些与新冠疫情有关的基本问题,以帮助缓解员工对新冠病毒的焦虑。梅解释说,“在人们没有社交集会进行哀悼的时候”,这类虚拟会议可以弥补这方面的缺失。

财务困境

另外一个令员工不安的原因是导致大规模裁员的财务危机。许多仍然有工作的员工担心被炒鱿鱼,因为一旦被裁,他们将更难支付医疗保险,导致他们无法接受心理健康治疗的风险增加。

2020年年初,在新冠疫情爆发之前,VMware进行了一次裁员,但裁员人数不明。对于部分被裁的员工,VMware可以“扩大医疗保险的覆盖范围”,这对于在今年春天疫情最严重的时候被裁员和仍未找到工作的人有很大的帮助。萨特说VMware会为被裁撤的员工提供灵活的选择,以帮助他们度过难关。

接受采访的高管基本上都提到了为员工提供一个安全场所谈论个人生活与压力的必要性,而且不止是在当前的艰难时期。例如,卡苏达斯说,思科多年来一直鼓励员工认真对待自己的心理健康问题。比如在两年前,名厨、作家安东尼·伯尔顿自杀身亡之后,思科的首席执行官罗卓克给员工发了一封邮件,强调了心理健康问题的严肃性。卡苏达斯说:“令人诧异的是,员工都给罗卓克回邮件,讲述自己的故事。”

随着疫情的持续蔓延和种族正义问题的持续推动,员工肯定会有更多与心理健康有关的问题愿意分享。(财富中文网)

译者:Biz

Betsy Sutter has over three decades of experience in human resources, but nothing has prepared her for the widespread mental turmoil currently afflicting her colleagues.

As chief people officer for business software firm VMware, Sutter has the challenging job of helping manage over 30,000 employees amid a coronavirus pandemic, a major recession, and a national reckoning over racism. With so much to worry about, it’s no surprise that workers are experiencing an unprecedented mental health crisis, experts say.

Just days after widespread protests over racism and police brutality kicked off throughout the U.S., Sutter sounds overwhelmed. VMware employees were already struggling with COVID-19 and ensuing requirements to work from home. “I can honestly say, I have never been this challenged, taxed, and emotional, as you figure out how to navigate this,” Sutter says. “I’m seeing people really crumble.”

Sutter isn’t alone.

Her peers at tech giants like Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise feel similarly as the drip of distressing news and feelings of isolation drain employee morale and increase mental health problems. Cisco chief people officer Fran Katsoudas says the pandemic has “magnified” the need for frank discussions about mental health, frequently a taboo in the American workplace. “You have a high level of stress and you have people who are to an extent isolated from one another,” she says.

Understanding Black trauma

For Black employees, life can be particularly difficult these days. George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody added to an already long list of African-Americans who have died at the hands of law enforcement, including Breonna Taylor, Stephon Clark, and Philando Castile, and a painful reminder of the many struggles fellow Black Americans face.

The current financial crisis, for one, is impacting Black workers more than their white colleagues. For example, a recent survey by Fortune and SurveyMonkey found that “Black adults are twice as likely to have been laid off or furloughed as white adults.”

Black Americans are also more likely to know someone who has died of COVID-19 than white Americans, according to research by the Non-partisan and Objective Research Organization, NORC, at the University of Chicago for the Data Foundation think tank.

Trey Boynton, Cisco’s global lead for inclusion, describes her feelings in recent weeks as a mixture of grief coupled with the “inability to express.” “We gather in times of grief,” says Boynton, who is Black, about the importance of funerals in the Black community. But restrictions on large crowds and fears of contracting the deadly virus mean that traditional places of gathering like churches are closed, causing isolation and loneliness.

Although Boynton is exhausted by the “the sheer overwhelmingness of the loss of life that was so unnecessary,” she doesn’t think she’s “ever heard our country talk about systemic racism” like now.

Michael Lopez, the chief diversity officer of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, says HPE “had to ensure that our Black and African-American team members felt heard and seen.” As part of that effort, HPE CEO Antonio Neri, who recently tested positive for COVID-19 but is doing well and is still working, has been on a virtual “listening tour” with Black employees.

While Lopez declines to comment about the specifics of those meetings, he says they highlighted the “importance of engaging the broader organization about having uncomfortable, or what I call courageous” discussions about race.

Healing from pain

HPE chief people officer Alan May says management has been trying to encourage employees to take care of their mental health. Managers have been undergoing training to spot warning signals so they can urge employees to access mental benefits. “We are encouraging our leaders to connect with every one of our employees every week—not about work, but to see how they are doing,” May says.

He adds that HPE is providing free accounts to the Headspace meditation app, which can be helpful to unload stress. Around 9,000 employees signed up for the app in the span of a month, May says, underscoring how workers are in need of relaxation.

Cathleen Swody, an organizational psychologist and founding partner of executive coaching firm Thrive Leadership, says meditation apps can be useful for newbie meditators. The apps can also be used to help practice mindfulness, the idea of being in the present moment while acknowledging but not giving into thoughts or physical sensations. “The point of mindfulness is to get into the present—to not worry about the past, which tends to be a depressive, or worry about the future, which tends to produce more symptoms of anxiety,” Swody says.

Meanwhile, Cisco has been holding video calls for employees, some of which have involved doctors answering basic questions about COVID-19 that may help alleviate some employee anxiety about the virus. As May explains, these kinds of virtual meetings can help compensate for the fact that “there are no social gatherings for people to grieve.”

Financial distress

Adding to employee nervousness is the financial crisis, which has led to massive layoffs. Many workers who still have jobs are worried about being fired, which makes health insurance more difficult to afford and therefore increases the risk that people will lose access to mental health treatment.

In early 2020, before COVID-19 hit, VMware laid off an unspecified number of workers. For some of them, VMware was able to “extend health insurance coverage,” which came in handy for some who were laid-off and who were still unemployed during the surge in coronavirus this spring. Sutter says VMware would offer flexible choices to laid-off workers to help them through difficult times.

In general, executives interviewed spoke of the need to provide a safe place for workers to discuss their lives and stresses—and not just during the current period of difficulty. Cisco, for instance, has encouraged employees to take their mental health issues seriously for several years, Katsoudas says. For instance, two years ago, after the suicide of celebrity chef and author Anthony Bourdain, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins sent an email to workers about the seriousness of mental health. “What was so amazing about that was our employees responded to Chuck’s email by telling their own stories,” Katsoudas said.

As the pandemic continues, and the push for racial justice grows, employees will likely have more stories to share about mental health.

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