The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has left the world economy and humanity itself, in disarray. People were forced to isolate themselves from their families and friends, businesses had to take drastic action to stay afloat and millions were affected with the virus itself.
As we move towards the second winter, with more employees going back to work and coming off furlough, how are employees and employers dealing with the effects of what is being known as ‘COVID fatigue’?
What is COVID fatigue?
Brett Hill, from the independent advisors Towergate Health and Protection, explains that the term “covers the feeling of exhaustion and exasperation from constantly having to keep up with changing regulations”.
It is the aftermath of months of changes from the UK government; not knowing if your company can bring employees back to the office, employees not knowing if it is safe to do so and the mental health repercussions.
How are employees suffering with COVID fatigue?
Everyone has been affected by the pandemic and for employees, the thought of returning to work has been and continues to be, overwhelming. Many may have been struck by the virus and are suffering the long-term after affects. The introduction of furlough last year meant a lot of employees worked from home, which brought its own challenges. It also brought a new sense of freedom that people have enjoyed, which might make returning to work difficult.
So how can employers support their employees?
Employers have had their fair share of issues during the pandemic, and they have had to make a great deal of adjustments to ensure their companies have been able to continue trading. However, they have also had to make many changes to how their employees have been working, not only with regard to ensuring staff were equipped to work from home (if necessary), but also to be more compassionate and empathetic as employees struggle with the impact the pandemic has had on their physical and mental health.
Some of the ways an employer can support its staff is to:
- Listen to your employees – make time to listen if they have any concerns regarding coming back to the office and talk to them about it,
- Learn the signs – if an employee seems ‘off’, let them know you are available to talk and offer mental health and wellness sessions,
- Be adaptable – knowing how to make appropriate changes will help you and your employees’ transition back to a ‘normal’ setup a lot smoother,
- Inject optimism – no-on expects everything to return to how it once was, but being more involved with your employees and introducing team building events can help bring a positive attitude to the workplace.
Do you have concerns about your employees returning to the workplace? Have you got issues with the process in place at your company or organisation that may need improving? SFB Consulting have trained specialists who can help you with any concerns you may have, call us on 01279 874676 for more information.