Do you feel like everything is being overshadowed by Covid? Do you just want to read about something else? I can’t agree more! The problem is, many of our perceptions and plain everyday operations have changed so profoundly that it is hard to use our “normal” perspective. Covid is really affecting us to the core.
While Covid might have resulted in us having a renewed appreciation for our physical health, the pandemic also affected our mental well-being. Much of the initial Covid-induced emotional challenges were about our safety and the isolation of lockdown (read more), but there is another consequence for our mental health – burnout.
Covid has had a serious effect on business. Yes, it brought opportunity to some, but most experienced some negative consequences – even if only because of consumers’ cautiousness and lack of buying power. Many companies were forced to introduce pay cuts and retrenchments and some even had to close their doors. For leaders, stress came in the form of concerns about saving their business and providing for employees. Other than finding ways to stay relevant, employees worry about job retention and salary cuts. While job-related stress is nothing new, Covid brought it to new levels.
Forbes reports: “A new study of thousands of business executives and HR professionals around the world found leaders and employees are burning out at record rates, and that most executives don’t think they are effective at leading virtually.” (Read more)
While some are just more adaptable than others and have easier access to resources, I think it is the uncertainty that affects us all. Some of us thrive in a crisis. We like to be challenged and come up with creative solutions and new plans. But when there is so much uncertainty, making a plan is harder than usual – even for those who supposedly think on their feet and out of the box.
The tourism industry is a great example. We might think that because of vaccines, tourism will start its recovery from the end of the year or in 12 months or in 18 months, but we don’t know. Remember when we thought we only had to survive the three week lockdown introduced in March 2020? If there is one thing we know, it is that we don’t know. Such uncertainty can easily kill creativity and it really requires us to embrace a new way of thinking.
Effective leadership is more important than ever. Being an efficient leader is not only about being dynamic and driving the energy of your team – it also requires insight and empathy. While leadership has always required a holistic approach, it is even more of the essence in this strained context. The challenge is also to apply these leadership skills in a virtual environment.
According to the Forbes article many leaders and employees are considering new opportunities. While I believe many are thankful to still have the opportunities they do, burnout is a serious concern. Burnout is not only because of hard work. Burning the midnight oil, trying to make plans and finding alternatives ways of survival is one thing in the short term. When the goal posts keep moving, however, when uncertainty stays an issue and the pressure of responsibility is relentless, exceptional emotional resilience is required. (Read more)
We know we need to be responsible when it comes to both our own health and the health of those around us, but there is more to it. We also need to be alert about our own emotions and we need to consider the challenges to mental well-being in general. Covid fatigue is a real thing – both literally and figuratively. So is Covid burnout.