The COVID-19 pandemic almost instantly catapulted humanity into a constant state of flight-or-fight mode, on a global level; an evolutionary self-defense mechanism which kicks in when faced with a crisis. However, what happens when we have experienced this personal and collective-stressor and existing in this state of crisis for so long with no end in sight? How do we cope both personally and professionally as this is indeed an unfathomable experience to go through?
With the current Covid-19 pandemic we find ourselves in, even 18 months down the line - there will of course be a lot more stress, fears and anxieties. Be it about catching the virus, losing a loved one, fears about finances and what will happen to jobs and the future way of working. More so than before, it is critical to focus on your employees’ wellbeing and give them the necessary tools they need to feel better equipped to deal with their feelings and insecurities and to best support them in whatever way possible.
There’s no closing a blind eye to the multi-layered effects and ramifications of this pandemic - physically, financially and emotionally. So, with this in mind, how can organisations best help and support their employees and show a duty of care, especially while people are feeling the pandemic fatigue?
So, what is Pandemic fatigue?
According to the WHO, Pandemic fatigue is understood as demotivation to follow recommended protective behaviours, emerging gradually over time and affected by a number of emotions, experiences and perceptions. In simple terms, pandemic fatigue is a feeling of exhaustion and demoralization that comes from living within the pandemic and how that impacts all aspects of our lives. For some, they feel stripped of all motivation and passion, for others they constantly feel lethargic and no energy to perform.
In addition, there has also been an infodemic of misinformation which has threatened many people throughout this pandemic. Due to the information overload, both scientific and evidence based and many other options, this has been fearmongering for so many for so long and caused many to shut up and block out the pandemic noise, which again contributes to this sense of fatigue.
More so than ever before, we’re living in such uncertain times which is putting immense pressure on us all, both in work and home life capacities. With so many unpredictable changes and still no clear pandemic end-date so to speak, employees are trying to save as many pounds as possible and be as prudent as possible. Employee benefits have so much value and extend further than simply just perks and add-ons. When implemented properly, they have the potential to boost employee morale, improve retention, increase performance and productivity, over and above helping employees with cost reductions and savings.
There are so many different types of benefits which companies can tailor and offer, so flexibility is key, it's not about a one size fits all solution. Often, remuneration packages and bonuses can only go so far, therefore organisations should widen their offering by considering a combination of various employee benefits and perks, something which will of course, align with their values.
Employee benefits have a big impact on employee satisfaction and nurturing and this is critical especially when employees are feeling demotivated and indeterminate. A comprehensive benefits-package whereby employees can save on thousands of brands and retailers, where they have access to exclusive packages and priority value-adds, or can simply enjoy savings at their local supermarket and cinema, shows they are valued and cared for out of office hours. These benefits demonstrate to your team your care goes beyond just their role, and it extends to considering their financial and emotional wellbeing outside of the workplace. These employee benefit platforms are a low-cost per employee investment, yet the outcome they yield is far greater than the initial sum.
Flexi-time and flexible working can be considered an employee benefit, and one which has been crucial during the past 18 months. With working from home, hybrid working, home-schooling, quarantining and long holidays, flexibility can really make or break your employees. If possible, letting employees work optimum hours rather than just simply clock watching from 9AM-6PM is valuable and can reduce stress and anxiety during this fatigue period. Allowing employees to work around their personal schedules as long as the tasks are completed within a deadline will help ensure your employees are engaged and proactive as will have more time to focus and less time to worry about timings, rotas and home schedules.
Seeing that COVID-19 has impacted everyone on so many levels, especially their wellbeing and mental state of minds, offering wellbeing and wellness employee benefits is so significant. With so many feeling demotivated, worried and hesitant, it’s common place to see a lull in productivity and feel a sense of disheartenment. By offering your employees benefits which can help their holistic wellbeing, such as discounted gym memberships, access to free meditation apps, free sessions to Yoga classes or Boot-Camps in a park, the list is endless.
Inspired? Sounds like something your company can benefit from? Download our free e-Book on employee benefits to find how to foster employee engagement.