In the first or second week of January we usually return to the working year pumped up, rested, refreshed and looking forward to the year ahead.
This year however, it seems we are entering 2021 more tired, depressed and uncertain of the year ahead than ever before.
The Christmas break is generally a time to get away, enjoy nights out with family and friends and to take a break from the stresses of the year just past. While the signs leading into December had all the makings of a normal Christmas with hope and positivity leading into 2021, that all came crashing down on December 17th in Sydney.
The week before Christmas is supposed to be the time of year where colleagues and friends get together, the shopping centres are full and there’s cheer in the air. This Christmas lead up was spent with suburbs split, mad dashes at the airport to get home and over hundreds of thousands of COVID tests done as families tried to salvage the festive season.
Ringing in the new year in what we had hoped would be a celebrated affair, for many NYE was cancelled with the restrictions put in place for Sydney & local areas as well as the public told not to come and see the Sydney New Years Eve fire display. In a year where we needed some hope and positivity, it became a gloomy forecast.
With all this on top of us, the daily updates, the closed borders and suburbs kept from sporting events, there’s a real fatigue in the air when it comes to COVID-19.
Everyone I’ve spoken to so far this year is over it. We didn’t get the break we needed after last year, we haven’t had a chance to relax and get away and for the most part. A Lot of people are coming back more exhausted than when they went away.
So what can you do for you or your team who might be suffering from COVID fatigue.
Look after yourself - It might sound simple, but maintaining a good healthy diet and getting enough sleep is key to keeping you in check.
Turn off social media - We know you can’t turn anything on or open any paper or magazine without COVID being everywhere, so limit your use to the amount of time you spend on technology.
Take up a new hobby - The one thing we have seen throughout this pandemic is the creative side that has come out of people. Take an online cooking class, start writing that book you were always talking about, buy a canvas and some paint and start playing around. You would be surprised at what a lift being creative and creating something can do for your mental health.
It’s just as important for business owners to be mindful that employees haven’t had the recharge experience they probably need, so keeping this in mind, here’s a few tips you can do to keep your team focused and on the right track while we navigate through this.
Have the support systems in place for employees to be able to work from home. This could be a year of on again off again in terms of restrictions and lockdowns, so it’s important to be prepared well in advance.
Most employees will have families and commitments that can be impacted outside of their control which can make their day to day duties more difficult to complete. Working together will allow the employee to see you are there for them when they need it, whilst in return, having that employee being more productive as a result of a positive mind frame.
Targets & KPI’s - These shouldn’t be the only things rewarded in 2021. Don’t forget the rest of your team who puts in 100% throughout the year who can often be overlooked. Everyone in your team makes a contribution and just wants to feel acknowledged now more so than ever.
How to acknowledge staff? - Take the “work” out of work from time to time. We are spending more time with our work colleagues than ever before whether it’s online or in the office. A great way I’ve seen is a monthly office dinner or even a breakfast. This isn’t training, it’s not an out of office meeting, it’s purely a chance to reconnect and keep your office morale up. Give your reception an early mark now and then, take your marketing manager for a steak lunch over the harbour one day. Start a trivia night within your network one night a month. Whatever it is, make sure your team knows that their happiness, mental health and job security is ok.
The same can be said for employees in respect for employers.
It’s been a difficult 12 months with everything that’s been thrown at us & if you are still working, be mindful of many of the sleepless nights your employer might have had that you are unaware of in just keeping the business afloat.
One thing is for certain, we don’t know where this year is headed. The only thing we know is that if we work together we will get through it.