Employees and coworkers: how to manage fear and stress after Covid-19
The return to the “new normality” can become a traumatic event for the employees of a company, particularly due to the risk of getting Covid-19.
If part of your operation requires face-to-face work, in addition to the application of strict sanitary measures, a scheme must be designed to understand employees’ concerns, in order to avoid that anxiety or fear have an impact in their productivity.
On this matter, the World Health Organization developed the illustrated guide “Doing What Matters in Times of Stress”, with recommendations for coping with this factor and preventing it from affecting anyone’s daily activities.
In this sense, it will be critical for companies and SMEs to establish better communication channels with their workers; besides, other strategies can be designed, such as:
- Clearly state that employee safety is the most important issue for the company.
- As far as possible, hire the services of occupational psychology professionals to help relieve the stress of returning to work.
- Analyze combined schemes of face-to-face work and home office.
- Reduce labor hours, establish plans of work based on productivity, staggered meal times and avoid any activity involving large crowds in the workplace.
- Providing that the financial conditions of the company allow it, consider the possibility of taking out insurance, which can give workers more confidence to continue with their duties.
The labor impact
Although stress has been recognized as one of the factors that most strongly affects the productivity of companies by causing a mental exhaustion in employees, in the case of the Covid-19 pandemic, the incidence in younger employees must be considered more carefully.
According to a study carried out in Spain by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, young people in a range of age between 18 and 24 years old is experiencing more symptoms related to anxiety and depression due to confinement.
During this pandemic and upon return to activities, it is critical that companies know how to identify signs of stress, take steps to build resilience and manage the work environment, as well as knowing where to turn if help is needed.
According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some symptoms that can be identified among workers are:
- Feel irritation, anger, or assume a denial attitude.
- Experience uncertainty, nervousness or anxiety.
- Lack of motivation.
- Feeling tired, overwhelmed or mentally exhausted.
- Feeling sad or depressed.
- Have trouble sleeping.
- Have difficulty in concentrating.
If any of these behaviors is identified, it is very important to discuss it with the worker concerned, look for joint solutions and, above all, design strategies through which, depending on the needs of the company, there is a way forward to continue with the operation of business in a security environment.