James Hyndman

Navigating your way through changing times


 

When normalcy gets disrupted, stress tends to rise, which is exactly what workers across the country have been dealing with for the past several months due to the effects of the novel coronavirus. Indeed, according to a recent poll conducted by Springfox, 50% of respondents acknowledged that their workload was higher today than it was prior to COVID-19. Meanwhile, 25% said their productivity levels had declined either somewhat or significantly.

The combination of these factors has respondents feeling stressed, with more than 60% saying their levels of anxiety were either somewhat or substantially higher now than they were before the pandemic hit, the poll revealed.

The primary contributors to their stress were a combination of factors, including working from home, time management issues, interacting with new or unfamiliar technology, blurred boundaries and the need to be “always on”. In other words, being unable to decompress or slow down due to the potential repercussions, such as lost work productivity.

The issues employees are facing are very real. If they go unaddressed, it risks their physical, mental and emotional well-being. Here are a few suggestions for how to better cope with change to lower anxiety and improve output.

Business woman at deskMany people are feeling more stressed than usual in today’s unusual environment.

1. Reclaim a healthy work-life balance

With more people now working from home all the time, it can be easy to be loaded up with numerous assignments because everyone has instant access to their workstations. But this can result in diminishing returns if their workload takes them longer to finish and bleeds into their downtime, warned clinical psychologist Jodie Lowinger, speaking to ABC News.

“Stressors can have a cumulative impact on our capacity to function and can make us more vulnerable over time,” Lowinger explained.

Instead, set boundaries and remind yourself that once your shift ends, whatever you are working on should be put aside. There’s always tomorrow.

Video conferencing is great, but can become overwhelming the more it's used. Video conferencing is great, but can can induce the sense of being always on.’

2. Turn the camera off now and then

Is your team experiencing Zoom fatigue? They may feel like they’re always on when constantly on video conferences with co-workers or clients. Whenever possible, turn the camera off so they have the freedom to feel more relaxed.

3. Encourage openness

People may feel reluctant to come forward if they’re feeling stressed out about the changes. Bottling up their emotions can make things worse, so actively encourage them to speak up if their workload is getting to be too much to handle.

Employees should feel appreciated and valued. If they are supported in managing change more effectively they will feel like they are.