Mental Health Remains Undervalued in Remote Work RegulationBy Anamary Olivas | Wed, 07/27/2022 - 12:18
Experts recognize that the NOM-037 regulatory project is a good instrument to improve health and safety conditions regarding teleworking, but they believe that the prevention of psychosocial risks can still be strengthened.
The telework regulation is meant to be an instrument that will regulate the safety and health conditions that must be monitored during remote work to prevent accidents and occupational illnesses. Specialists consider that the project, which is currently undergoing public consultation, is generally a good tool. However, it falls short regarding the prevention of mental health disorders such as stress, anxiety and depression.
Jorge Gutiérrez Siles, Senior Consultant, Kaysa said the project was based on a traditional understanding of work risks, so it focuses more on physical issues and visible effects. “It seems to me that there are aspects that could be strengthened. One of these is the psychosocial aspect. For example, all facets of NOM-035 should be suitable for remote work, including attention to leadership. When teleworking, the training of leaders is necessary because there are different ways of exercising leadership,” he pointed out.
According to Mercer's Global Talent Trends 2022 study, 81 percent of the workforce in Mexico is at risk of burnout. In that sense, Human Resources (HR) executives have begun to perceive investment in mental health programs as the talent management strategy that will offer the second-highest return on investment. “We live in a digital age that has produced ailments and diseases within the population. Some of these are linked to techno-stress, from how a telephone rings or how the computer notifies you and the response that listening to a telephone produces in people. How is the standard going to address this type of situation?” asked Health Consultant Miguel Agustín Garza.
Experts argue that it is important to update NOM-037 to include teleworking. “In a remote work culture, there should be more flexibility. You should not work the same office hours because it can be even more stressful. In an office, you go for a coffee or talk to someone, but at home you are looking at a screen. All these elements are not considered in the standard,” said Gutiérrez.
The NOM project features plenty of tools to guarantee safe work spaces, "but the mental health part remains weak," he added. “It is a good first draft and if it is complemented with this focus, it would be better.”