GETTING BACK TO YOUR BEST AT WORK
Some of us aren’t bouncing back like we used to.
And you’re not the only one.
The active years of the pandemic have left their mark on workplaces around the world.
The impacts have been physical, economic, emotional, and psychological.
As a result, many employees and leaders are struggling with depleted energy, efficiency, innovation and overall performance.
And tough-ing it out is no longer an effective approach.
After the ‘great resignation’, we are now amidst the ‘great burnout’.
The great burnout
Approximately 5% of adults live with depression globally, which is 394.4 million people, The World Health Organisation has found.
While stress is part of our body’s survival mechanism, the prolonged experience of stress can be harmful.
Serious medical events, unexpected death of a loved one, seeing death or a person who has passed away, witnessing violence and unrest and natural disasters are all incredibly stressful events.
These are just a few examples of traumatic events listed by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.
On their list of 12 traumatic events, more than half are likely to have experienced during the pandemic.
It should come as no surprise that so many of us are struggling with emotional regulation (e.g. depression, anxiety, PTSD etc.) and motivation.
The abrupt changes to our personal and working lives, our routines, becoming isolated, and even our sleep patterns were profound and jarring.
Much of what we see affecting others or ourselves reflects some of the hallmark symptoms of depression and severe burnout.
According to the 2023 State of the Future of Work report:
- One in two workers (aged 18-54) are exhausted at work, 40% are feeling less motivated than they were before 2020.
- 33% struggle to concentrate due to external responsibilities – e.g. caring for children or elderly parents.
We can get back to our best.
It is possible to thrive at work in a post-pandemic world by mitigating illness, preventing harm and promoting thriving.
Chronic stress can trigger inflammation throughout our body, even in our brains.
This can affect memory, motivation and mental agility, which could lead to further health problems.
Increased cortisol and reduced serotonin production can cause sleep problems and affect our ability to emotionally regulate.
Making the need to deal with stress clear and present for all involved.
McKee and Seppälä dispel the need to work harder and faster in order to succeed at work, affirming it is not a sustainable, ongoing way to live.
Over-extending ourselves across all areas of our life, particularly work, is accepted despite the well-known negative impact this has.
Connection gives us strength
A strong connection within your workplace can help you or your team through tough patches, rather than stress induced self-isolation.
Another way to work smarter is to review your work processes and find what or where the most strain is for employees and managers.
During the pandemic, we adjusted our processes when they weren’t suitable for our circumstances – and you don’t have to experience a pandemic again to affirm the need for change.
Getting comfortable with discomfort will help us truly improve our workplaces.
- Is a number of reviews and approvals required?
- Is there enough detail in the initial brief?
- Are there issues with resourcing and turnaround time?
- What steps do your employees feel comfortable taking when a piece of work is falling behind?
- Are there enough opportunities for communication and feedback?
Taking the time can make an immediate difference for you.
This can reduce the time taken to complete work, as well as avoiding fatigue and maintaining motivation levels.
Long-term, this can prevent employee absenteeism, presenteeism and the frequency of staff burnout and turnover.
Steps to recovery
Forbes recommends seven strategies to help recover and reinvigorate after burnout:
- Get lots of rest
- Practice self-care
- Take micro-breaks
- Set work-life boundaries
- Have a place to vent
- Get professional support
Empower your people to be their best with tailored content and programs delivered by Springday.
- Depressive disorder (depression) – World Health Organisation
- Trauma during adulthood – International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
- 2023 State of the future of work – University of Melbourne
- Thriving at work in the post-pandemic world – PwC
- Mental Health Framework to Support Employees to Thrive at Work – Thrive at Work
- Here’s how being stressed at work can hurt you physically and what you can do to beat it – CNBC Make It
- Symptoms of job burnout and 7 steps to recovery – Forbes