The pandemic has certainly transformed the way we work and live. Now, with the onset of the
third wave, businesses are either delaying return-to-office or reverting to work from home. With safety still being a concern, the return to normalcy has been delayed. Work-induced emotional fatigue is becoming a growing concern. 39 percent of workers reported feeling exhausted. Holistic employer-led strategies that ensure employee wellbeing has become essential. Here’s how business can ensure wellbeing in these unprecedented times.
Are your team members struggling with emotional fatigue?
No matter what profession you’re in, the pandemic has been a challenging time for everyone.
Feelings of loneliness and anxiety have become more prominent as people continue to work
from home. As stress from personal and professional fronts begin to accumulate, employees
can find themselves in a state of feeling emotionally worn out and drained. This kind of burnout slowly builds up over time and negatively impacts their health in the long run.
Emotional fatigue can manifest itself in a myriad of ways. If you’re wondering whether your
employees are struggling with the same, here are some signs to look out for:
● Deadlines get missed frequently
● Employees start to display a sudden shift in behaviour – aggressive or withdrawn
● Employee attendance for meetings become unpunctual
● A lack of interest in day-to-day activities that were previously enjoyed
● An increase in absenteeism from work
● A lack of social connection i.e isolation from colleagues
The actionable way forward: what can HR professionals do?
While your employees work from home, the spatial boundaries between their personal and
professional lives often become blurred. The pressure of being available all the time while
juggling between professional and personal commitments can take a severe toll on their health. During these times, consistent and transparent communication is necessary to keep employees connected. With support from management and leaders, HR teams should look to create a safe space for employees to share their personal as well as professional challenges. It is easy to miss when a colleague is struggling. Therefore, it is imperative to consciously check in with your team members. Asking specific questions, listening to their concerns and encouraging them to talk about their feelings, are the building blocks of ensuring workplace wellness.
Wellbeing cannot be achieved unless employees are encouraged to prioritise their needs as
much as those of the business. HR teams should lead the charge in terms of gauging the
emotional and mental health needs within an organisation. They can consider rolling out short
weekly surveys that help understand how employees are truly doing and identify the potential
areas of improvement. Additionally, they can also look out for opportunities to de-stigmatise conversations around mental health and mental health illnesses. When employees are
encouraged to set boundaries and practise self-care, it can truly make a difference.
Creating an environment where your employees feel included, where they can bring their true
selves to work, is important. Promoting team bonding between new and existing employees
through activities like Expressive Arts can be a great approach to de-stress, promote creativity
and build a sense of community. Expanding mental health access over and above employee
wellness programs is also a good idea. In addition to offering counselling as an employee benefit, organisations can also go the extra mile by adopting meaningful programs like Happiness Workshops to keep their teams spirits high overall.
As businesses become more dependent on hybrid working models, tackling emotional fatigue is becoming paramount in the future of work. Managing both — physical and mental — aspects of wellbeing should be an employer’s top priority because a happy workplace benefits the business in more ways than one. While the pandemic has brought mental health to the forefront, it has also served as a great opportunity for businesses and leaders to connect and support employees in different facets of their professional and personal lives.