How to Manage Workplace Stress During a Pandemic
Coronavirus has and continues to be a testing experience that dominates our lives in 2020.
Fear and anxiety over a pandemic are testing enough without having to worry about planning bespoke projects, launching funding campaigns and hitting deadlines—but it adds to the stress, nonetheless. And with the public eager to leave Covid-19 behind in the coming years: how can we learn to manage wellness in the new normal? How can we, as charity workers, avoid letting the stress of work mix with the stress of everyday life?
It’s all about learning from our experiences and moving forward. In this article, we discuss how our experiences over this past year can help us reduce stress in a post-Covid office space.
Follow any and all government guidelines
A post-Covid future is something we all dream about, but logic dictates that we’ll be feeling the presence of this virus for some time. When we’re allowed back to the office, chances are it’ll be subject to the same adjustments seen in the hospitality industry.
Is this a nightmare scenario? To some, maybe. For many others, it’s an added layer of safety that makes the workplace a more comfortable environment to function in. After all, there is a reason we left it in the first place.
Whether we install transparent separators between desk spaces, implement skeleton shifts or introduce deep cleaning routines, a prepared organisation will help reduce Covid anxiety amongst the returning workforce.
In the same vein, you’ll have a personal responsibility to adhere to the guidelines, especially back in the office. Suddenly you won’t only be putting yourself and your bubble at risk—you’ll put your colleagues at risk too.
Our advice: share trusted information from accountable sources like GOV.uk and the NHS. Remember, knowledge is power, and acting on the know-how will increase safety too.
Keep remote working as an option
The permanent adoption of remote working is an eclectic taste for many office dwellers. But you can’t deny what a roaring success it has been for organisations across the country.
If any good has come from lockdown it has to do with a newfound closeness to family and the ability to be a little more flexible in the working day. Although coronavirus has presented the workforce with a tonne of challenges, business owners are also able to realise the merits of remote working.
Flexibility is the key to reduce stress and maintain a happy team. With remote working, managers have learned to respect their employees’ time and loosened their grip to allow a better work-life balance.
No longer should you need to endure a strict 9-to-5 schedule that isolates you from emergencies, school runs and spending valuable time with family. Aside from being around to hit tight deadlines: does it matter if we take longer breaks and split the day? So long as the job gets done, there’s only one answer—not at all.
Ease pressure with digital work tools
Organisations from all sectors have acclimated to working from home over lockdown, be it charities, marketing firms or anything in between. Many companies are kitted out with the right tools to make your home as streamlined as the office (if not more). So, it’s reasonable to assume that companies will facilitate choice and optimise efficiency in many different environments.
It’s worth turning to a task management tool to help you reduce stress through planning and time management at work. These have proven value and will continue to be a source of guidance well past Covid. These systems digitally map out your day from remote spaces, break big tasks into manageable bites and help you keep track of deadlines from outside of the office.
Continuing to integrate a task management tool into the daily work routine gives you much more control over your work and where you do it. The big upside? Covid has displaced our lives and taken away control for many workers. These tools allow you to keep track of your day and approach work in a more manageable, less daunting way.
Equally, communication software needs to be implemented across the board. Having a multiplatform facility to touch base and interact online has been vital during the days of remote working. And it’s important not to forget about it when we move back to the office.
Finding ways to effectively integrate a digital and physical presence in your workplace is vital. By refining communication on a digital level, it can reduce the stress of miscommunication. Plus, you have a reasoned choice between home and the office.
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Beat workplace stress with communication
The impact of coronavirus is wide-reaching and not only affects health but economic security too. Given the upcoming recession that is restricting industry growth, on our return to the workplace, people are expected to feel wary about their future,
Some of the most stressful factors workers are experiencing right now are the fear of being laid off, staff cutbacks and a lack of control. All of which are symptoms of Covid’s wider impact on our lives.
As with many anxieties, often the best solution is to talk it out. Turning to trusted co-workers for support during a period of readjustment and anxiety can prevent you from internalising workplaces stresses. It could also be helpful to connect with the wider charity community to see how others are being influenced in their workplaces. CharityConnect is a great place to do just that.
After months of soundbites, the phrase ‘we’re all in this together’ is getting a little tiring. But as a team there lies some continued truth in such a sentiment. Having support at work can ease stress—and it’s important to reciprocate the same support to those around you.
Whether you’re a friend, colleague, manager or advisor, listening to others in your workplace should be a top priority in a post-Covid environment. Throughout the working day, you might notice behavioural signs that indicate someone in your team needs extra support. If that’s the case, reach out and let them know they’re not alone.
We are yet to know exactly what a post-Covid workplace will look like. But there is a lot we can learn from our experiences over the past year that will allow us to ride out the test. The key is to be respectful, listen to others, and communicate clearly.
Laura May is Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine. We write about beauty, fashion, lifestyle, relationships, travel, trends and anything else that matters to you. Name throwing you off? Don’t take it too seriously – we intend to stand out from the crowd.