Today's post comes to us from the executive director of The Workforce Institute, Dr. Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR.
Here at The Workforce Institute, we recently released the results of a survey we just completed that hits pretty close to home for me, a full-time employee and father of four kids under the age of 18 (that's right, I said four!).
Our “Summer Scaries” survey looks at how working parents, and working people in general, are feeling as Fall approaches and the global pandemic we are all living through shows no signs of slowing down.
Amongst our key findings:
These numbers should catch the eye of employers and managers everywhere. You, as an organization, are only as good as your employees, and if they are feeling stressed and burnt out, it's going to affect your organization. Summer is usually a time when employees take time off to unplug and recharge but this summer has been unlike any other, with travel restrictions and limits on gatherings. Many employees were unable to vacation the way they normally do and are also dealing with the stress of the pandemic, worrying about their job security and the health and well-being of themselves and those they love. For parents, we've been monitoring (okay, maybe obsessively) the decisions school districts are making around the country and waiting to hear what the Fall will look like for our own kids as we ponder how on Earth we're going to make child care work.
It's a lot.
Now more than ever, employers must prioritize self-care and open communication to reduce the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that everyone - whether a parent or not - is facing in order to reduce the likelihood of burnout later this year and next year.
Thinking about self-care for employees made me think of my fellow board member Sharlyn Lauby's blog post on this very site three years ago focused on the topic (Sharlyn is always ahead of the curve). While some of her ideas were specific to being in an office, many are even more relevant now than they were then. Here are a few that feel especially spot-on right now:
All five of these great ideas can be adapted for working remotely. If you are a manager, encourage your team to make a “stop doing” goal, suggest classes your team can take or apps they can use for stress management and mindfulness. I love the idea of everyone taking their phone and heading out for a walk wherever they may be and conducting a meeting this way. Perhaps most of all, don't forget to recognize your team for their work and accomplishments during this time. Make time to celebrate your employees' wins and get creative about how you do it. Practice gratitude and see how it transforms your working life. Recognize the magic in a “thank you.” People need appreciation and simple kindness perhaps most of all right now.
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