The last effects of COVID-19 are challenging the well-being of remote workers, particularly due to the emotional or/and physical exhaustion from work that causes burnout.
Amid financial uncertainty and unprecedented business disruption, one potentially forgotten consequence is the rise of employee burnout. Work burnout oftentimes leads to a reduced sense of accomplishment and a total lack of motivation.
Maintaining your staff’s mental health is especially difficult with a pandemic that doesn’t seem to leave us shortly. Not only do employees have to struggle with living through a global health crisis, but disrupting their everyday work routines and working remotely is a tremendous additional stressor. That, plus the manager’s inability to monitor their staff morale and well-being as closely and offer possible remedies.
Typically, companies would schedule a company barbeque or an airy off-site to give their teams a much-needed boost in morale. Still, those options aren’t available in a pandemic uncertainty.
Instead, managers should get creative and develop new protocols for helping employees strike a healthy work-life balance.
Make it possible to work
These lockdowns have made it clear that working remotely or from the comfort of your home is tougher than many of us have ever imagined. So how can you truly support your team to get through it and emerge, blinking maybe, but in one peace?
As an employer, your top priority is empathy. From the start, your focus has been telling your staff that “your best is good enough.” But there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all answer to what the “best” is.
You should be thinking about how to encourage your people to work in whatever way is possible for them.
Employees with children have had it really tough; so far these lockdowns, companies came up with a series of well-being programs dedicated to at-home employees with children.
Such programs exist to ensure their employees can work in whatever way is possible for them. It provides an accompanying agenda of activities and parent-focused mental health support for kids of all ages, from mindfulness sessions for teenagers, drawing classes to live magicians, and even dance-offs for little ones. The feedback has been great and a true godsend for workers who need to keep their children away from their screen while getting some much-needed focus time for their work.
Encourage therapy sessions
At work, there is often a still stigma attached to therapy sessions. A such, talking with friends about going to a mental health specialist can be far easier than talking with the manager who decides their raises and promotions. Not only that but the vulnerability they create when sharing that they do therapy can be used against them.
In response to the high demand, services like UK Therapy Guide give apprehensive employees the opportunity to speak to a counsellor, therapist, or analyst online without meeting them face to face. This helps them assess the workplace culture and their personal comfort level before mentioning the appointments to their managers and work through challenges in their life that may be impacting their performance.
Make it possible not to work
What works for one may not work for everyone. And that’s something to keep in front of mind in all you do as an employer. Take your time to fully understand the individual needs of your employees and enable true flexibility. Make provisions for extensive levels of support, like making your people have time away from the monotony of video calls and take adequate breaks.
You can recommend various programs to your employees that offer a getaway from the daily grind; meditation and yoga, exercise classes, and even psychotherapy sessions aimed at managing isolation and stress.
Leadership is all about leading through the right examples, too, so true leaders need to prove to their employees that they take proper breaks and not present all the time and get away from the laptop. That, in turn, gives burned-out teams the permission to do the same.
Remember, everyone needs different things at different times. And the only way to you can keep your staff sane is by exhibiting true empathy at work and being the kind of leader that makes it possible- and not impossible – to work; in turn, making it possible to thrive and stay well during these trying times.
Make sure they use their PTO
One of the easiest ways to decompress is to take a vacation. But the truth is that employees often postpone paid time off simply because they worry about who will take up the slack while they’re out. While vacations aren’t feasible right now, considering there aren’t many places to visit (except the campsites), remote workers need to take the next best move and book a prolonged vacation at home and avoid burnout.
This can be a tough sell for them, but if workers are having a hard time disconnecting at the end of the workday, then it will surely be hard for them to avoid work for a whole week.
Reduce work week for working parents
A recent FlexJobs survey has found that 40 percent of working parents had to cut back on hours or even quit since the pandemic. This was because the closure of schools has forced many work-at-home mommies to juggle work, childcare, and help in their children’s education.
Many organizations have enacted malleable work schedules for staff with children, but numerous mental health professionals suggest taking a step further and reducing their work hours overall. Because an experienced employee working 32 hours a week is more valuable than most employees putting in the standard 40 per week. It’s annoying enough running a company during a pandemic – the last thing you want amid total health and financial uncertainty is to lose a trustworthy team member to burnout and spend time finding a replacement.
These times can seem all-consuming, so it’s crucial that we remember that this, too, shall pass. Perhaps, in the future, the pandemic will be a remnant of the past.