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Pt II: Post Pandemic Hybrid Work: Stress or Burnout?

A Leader’s Guide


Living in a post-pandemic world, anxiety levels have sky-rocketed. In this Center for Disease Control and Prevention survey, it was found that almost 41% of American adults struggle with mental health issues originating from the pandemic. Because of this, employers have the task more than ever to be conscious of their employees’ mental health.

Increased anxiety, especially when it surrounds work, will lead employees towards burnout. Anxiety stemming from hybrid work is one of the main contributors to exhaustion and burnout. As a reminder, burnout is more than just being stressed out. Stress presents itself as an overexertion of effort. Emotions and emotional reactions are more intense. You are feeling hyperactive and anxious. Stress steals your energy. 

Burnout is a syndrome that results from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. Three main areas define burnout: exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of reduced professional ability. Feeling worthless at your job or completely unmotivated to even start your work are classic indications of burnout. Previously easy tasks may seem tedious, useless, or overwhelming. Work is increasingly stressful and frustrating.

Being aware of what burnout is as a business leader is vital. Monitoring your employee’s mental health should be a top priority. To maintain a healthy workplace, leaders need to create an environment prioritizing unity, employees’ well-being, and productivity. Employees who feel understood by their supervisors are more willing to do their best for you.

In the wake of the pandemic, employers are tasked with creating new, healthy hybrid work environments that cater to their employees. While some people may be eager to be in an office again, others are hesitant to return to the same schedule that once was. We now have over a year of experience working remotely and now, people have welcomed the idea of using their home as their professional workspace. Lifestyles have been adjusted when working from home because there are little boundaries between work and home when your office is also your kitchen table. Your people might not be ready or able to readjust to a full-time office job. 

As we move forward into a new normal, leaders need to listen to their employees and perhaps co-create a work environment that motivates and encourages them.

What does that mean for You?

Communication: Employers should have open, heart-centered communication with their employees. Everyone is human, and the pandemic has taken its toll on us. Be willing to listen to your employees when they tell you they are feeling tired or unmotivated.

Empathy: Empathy requires emotional intelligence and the ability to imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes. Compassionate leaders will foster a healthier relationship between themselves and their team.

Connection: Be intentional to connect with team members by scheduling time to talk with each of them. Be positive and kind. Set aside any judgment and your own point of view then attempt to understand theirs as you listen to their requests of the changing workplace.

Discussion: Find out what your employees want in regards to their work schedule. Do they want to work a few days a week from a remote environment? Are they ready to return to the office? Figuring out what your team wants is the first step to building a new working environment catered to your people.


More Articles:

The Great Exhaustion: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/five-fifty-the-great-exhaustion

CDC Survey: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm

Five ways to design a better mental-health future for a stressed-out workforce: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/five-ways-to-design-a-better-mental-health-future-for-a-stressed-out-workforce?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck&hdpid=b5a626b7-ba73-43e6-8f95-3c5d3a4e51ee&hctky=11879462&hlkid=8735fce04e474e3ba004d9c1364dd4ea

When in doubt, Choose Empathy: https://meaningfulalignment.com/when-in-doubt-choose-empathy/

5 Ways to develop Empathy: https://meaningfulalignment.com/7-day-compassion-challenge-develop-empathy/

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