‘Covid fatigue’ in the return to work

Impact of Covid

As more and more of everyday opens, many are returning to work. After adapting to life in a Covid pandemic, we’re now having to go back to how we used to work and live. The impact of staying at home during Covid – restricted socialisation, no commuting, changing caring responsibilities (the list could go on) seems to have already tired those who have already returned to work.

Towards the latter stages of the pandemic many were eager to get back out in the world, but we also got used to a ‘closed-off’ way of life for so long that it can be challenging both mentally and physically to revert to pre-pandemic living – albeit an adapted version. So, it’s not surprising that people are already feeling the knock-on effect of going back to work and all it entails, whether you are returning to an office, hybrid working or continuing to work from home.

Some have enjoyed working from home not having to commute and having the flexibility in their role, and others missed social interaction. Whatever it may have been, employees are having to re-adapt to working whilst maintaining productivity and engagement levels rather than experiencing fatigue and burnout. Easier said than done.

Managing fatigue

So, how can employee fatigue or burnout in the return to work be managed in the workplace…

  • Ensure it’s a gradual transition
  • Recognise both employees and employers are likely to experience fatigue; there is no distinction between management levels when it comes to mental health & wellbeing
  • Provide mental health and wellbeing support & activities
  • Explore the wide range of existing employee benefits provision – Employee assistant programmes (EAPs), private medical insurance (PMI), and group risk policies
  • Build an open and honest culture of communication so employees feel supported to seek advice
  • Create social & physical activities

It’s also about how employers and employees recognise, mitigate, and respond to issues that contribute to fatigue in the return to work. Such as commuting, caring responsibilities, anxiety around returning to work, autonomy to manage your own day and being around colleagues. It’s likely different issues will arise over time and impact employee’s productivity, wellbeing and so on. Therefore, it’s crucial that continuous attention is paid to effectively act on issues early on and for employees to have autonomy of its management. Another aspect within this is employees need to feel empowered to seek support they feel would be the most beneficial supplied by their employers who should be providing a space for them to do so.

A wellbeing survey can offer insights

An effective way of doing this it to understand the needs of your workforce – conducting a wellbeing survey can gather key information on how employees are feeling, any challenges they face, whether they feel supported, etc. It also provides a foundation to facilitate internal discussions on what initiatives in place are effective, what can be improved and taking action early on. More so, undertaking surveys are vital for employers to eliminate challenges faced when pinpointing issues and acting on such to create meaningful change on a longer basis, which is key to tackling covid fatigue as we return to a ‘new’ normal.

Without a doubt, we have all been impacted over the past year and a half due to the pandemic but it is imperative that businesses continue to provide support to employees as they adapt as they once did at the start of the pandemic with remote working to empower people to feel supported, empowered and valued in their return to work.

If you haven’t already, speak to us about running how we can help gather feedback using a wellbeing survey to help aide and support returning to normal working arrangements. Contact us at info@surveyinitiative.co.uk or phone us on +44 (0)1255 870735.