We are in the amidst of a pandemic, and the effect of the Covid-19 is increasingly being felt across the world. It is uncommon time of change and uncertainty. As more and more people are getting infected, employees are experiencing high levels of anxiety around the potential impact of the virus. The fear of falling sick and the anxiety concerning the social and economic impact of corona is inevitable. Some amount of stress is considered good for us, it helps us boost our responses and also allows to perform under pressure.
Anxiety acts just like a contagious virus. It transfers from one human to other. However, chronic and prolonged stress produces negative effect on our mind, body and soul. Workplace anxiety is even worse as it affects the productivity of the team. Along with circulating basic notices on what precautions to take and how to stop the spread of germs and viruses in the workplace or even at home, employers can follow below tips to combat employee fears and reduce symptoms of coronavirus anxiety.
Not having enough information about things is the main source of anxiety. Knowledge is key factor to resolve this, use information from WHO (World Health Organization) and other authorities to spread awareness about Covid-19 among employees. Detailed explanation on how it spreads, what it effects, who is most at risk and who is not, what are precautionary steps, methods to break the transmission chain etc. Also, someone who has recovered and has been released from isolation is not carrier of the virus and does not pose a risk of infection to other people, which will mollify fears of being around such people.
Interacting periodically with employees to give updates lets them know that their employer is up to date and putting efforts to stay on top of things. Lack of communication can make some employees suspicious and feel that the employer is trying to hide things or just ignoring the situation. Let employees know what plans you have made, any new committees being formed, new budget allotted and any other significant actions.
Remind Employees about Company’s Health Benefits
Employer needs to make sure company’s health protocols are clear and accessible to all employees. Many companies offer assistance programs, this could be providing counseling over call to help understand the situation and reduce anxiety pertaining virus. Tele-health programs also help to clear doubts regrading normal flu, cold or fever by communicating with doctor over phone instead of going to their office.
Remote working is the best way to social distancing and putting unnecessary travel on hold. This is even more essential if known cases are positive in your company. Successful remote working requires proper planning. Supporting employees in setting up a working environment at home and providing all other basic amenities needed for work is one of the important steps. Also remember people working remote are prone to face psychological hazards related to loneliness and isolation. For well being of employees and resilience ensure connectivity. This could be achieved by weekly or daily calls. Online activities to socialize can be conducted to ensure employees well-being and involvement of everyone.
Reassurance and Additional Support
Irrespective of all these efforts some employees might still experience symptoms of distress and anxiety as the Coronavirus reaches its peak. This could be due to per-existing or other emotional struggles. To deal with this guide them towards additional emotional support, confidential interaction with counselors or mental health experts. Also organizing expert company talk on general coping mechanisms for anxiety will help those employees who are do not open up to managers or employers about their anxiety.
Nobody will feel better if their concerns are ignored. Let employees know that their concerns are normal and you as employer wants to hear them. Listen to them openly and do not react immediately to prove them wrong. Usage of reassuring language can help relive their stress
The series of incidence and experiences resulting in fear and anxiety pertaining to such significant challenge is understandable. Loss of lives, sudden changes to way of life, work and social distancing might result in stress and anxiety. It is important to realize the seriousness of situation but instead of panicking about the situation and spreading the same employees just need to be mindful and remember that fear is unhelpful. Others can support emotionally and in many other ways but it’s the individual who needs to look for its well being and stay calm in the middle of this global crisis. Spreading more and more awareness and standing together to fight this pandemic is the only way to overcome this positively.