by Kevin Eikenberry
Much has been written over the past few months about the mental health challenges for those working from home for more than a year, as they navigated changes to jobs and unclear expectations, and challenges with balancing their work and life all while never leaving the house and doing it all during a pandemic.
The challenges for everyone during this year have been real. And regardless of how you are personally feeling, this is an important topic for all of us to consider.
For Senior Leaders
If you are a senior leader or in an HR role, you need to think about burnout/stress/mental health as a real issue for your employees now. What are you doing to support them, understand them and provide resources for them? Doing this is the right thing to do for your people and a real way, if you get it right, to become a talent magnet in the future.
But this certainly isn’t an issue only for senior leadership/ and HR.
For All Leaders
If you are a leader in the middle of the organization or a front-line leader, do not wait, point fingers, or blame senior management for not acting. There is plenty you can do without an EAP service or new policies sent down from on high.
You can create a conversation about he challenges and stress within your team. Get people to talk about their challenges, and their solutions. By creating space for them to share their challenges and their successes, you will help them move forward with less burnout and stress. Doing this will help alleviate some of the problems, but you are doing something more that could fundamentally change the dynamics of your team in a powerfully positive way. The act of you bringing up the topic and facilitating it with your team will likely reinvigorate the relationships and build trust on the team.
But this isn’t just a leadership issue either.
If you are hurting, if you are burned out, or if your stress level is higher than ever (or even just higher than you want it to be), take action. Determine one thing you can do today to take better care of yourself. Think you don’t have time to do that when you look at your to-do list? This is an urgent vs. important trade-off. Your mental health is more important than the urgent request on your list. Besides, you don’t need a full vacation to relieve your stress a little bit. Ask yourself this question: are you more productive when you are fresh and less stressed?
You know the answer to this question. And that answer will urge you to take my advice.
Wherever you sit in the organization there are actions you can take to help yourself and others deal with the tress/burnout/mental health challenges that exist today.
The good news is that in every instance when you take the actions to improve the situation, other benefits will come along too.