We are currently living in a time of immense uncertainty, and the unknown can be stressful and anxiety-provoking for many. With the release of new information regarding the easing of coronavirus restrictions and lockdown measures, there will undoubtedly be anxiety amongst team members at the mere thought of returning to work.
Your employees may experience overwhelming feelings of fear during these times. It’s important as a leader to preserve the overall well-being of your team members by providing good quality communication and accurate information updates.
Dealing with current restrictions and the uncertainty of what lies ahead is difficult. While showing yourself compassion for doing what you can to cope with a challenging situation, keep in mind that team members are in the same position. Employees look to organizations to feel safe and protected. They need emotional support, which means it’s crucial to be proactive and regularly check-in. For practices that are open, feelings of uncertainty will not disappear overnight. Continuing to show empathy will be essential for your team to feel motivated and comfortable at work, while providing the same high-level of quality care to patients.
There is a level of responsibility that comes with leading an engaged team. Employees rely on leaders for guidance, especially during a global crisis. It’s important as a leader to not only communicate often and openly, but to actively listen. During these unprecedented times, finding new ways to communicate with staff is important. For practices that still remain closed, virtual team meetings are a great way to stay connected. Working full-time provides necessary structure to your day. Losing that structure can have a negative impact, so establishing a new way connect regularly will provide a sense of routine. Offering the opportunity to connect virtually allows you to keep your employees updated and engaged. It’s vital that you, as a leader and a manager, keep your team feeling like a team.
Team members will inquire about the health and safety protocols and procedures in place to eliminate the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Ensuring that the practice follows all Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) best practices and safety precautions put forth by provincial health and regulatory bodies is mandatory. Having detailed procedures in place ensure the health and safety of all team members and those within your care. Communicating openly and clearly with staff about new requirements will assist in alleviating anxiety around returning to work. Set reasonable expectations for your practice that you can meet. Remember, a prepared team is a successful team.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations and it’s okay to not have all of the appropriate answers. But open, compassionate, and frequent communication with your team members can help them cope with feelings of anxiety during this uncertain time.
Wellness Together Canada – This online portal provides Canadians with free resources, tools, and professional support services to help with wellness and resilience, as well as mental health and substance use. If you know someone struggling during this difficult time, please forward them this link.
For additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic, please see below resources:
Health Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada.html
World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/