Why the Epidemic of Stress is Endemic in the Post Pandemic World and How to combat it
How Stress has Become Endemic in the Post Pandemic World and in the New Normal
While stress and burnout were always the cause of much distress to working professionals in the modern workplaces, with the Covid 19 Pandemic forcing them to work from home and find alternative working models, it has become endemic to many professionals who are now looking for ways and means to overcome stress and avoid burnout.
Of course, work from home was earlier thought to enhance productivity levels and reduce the stress on employees who could pace their work and adjust to stress in the comfort of their homes.
However, the Pandemic has imposed a new kind of burden on professionals and that is to do with its accelerated timelines under which most professionals are now working.
In other words, the pandemic has made professionals confront a newer form of stress wherein despite working from home, the FOMO or the Fear of Missing Out on important work keeps them glued to their monitors and prevents them from working in a relaxed manner.
Indeed, recent research shows that stress levels have increased in the Post Pandemic world causing worries to corporates and the employed professionals.
Insecurities about the Future, Lack of Alternative Jobs, and the Epidemic of Stress
The reasons for this Epidemic of Stress lie in the way the Pandemic has made all of us insecure about our futures.
With almost the entire world locked down and the infection spreading rapidly, professionals had to contend with the fear of job loss as well as the lack of alternative opportunities.
This Double Whammy meant that they agreed to whatever increased workloads that their bosses made them work on and at the same time, also raised insecurities about whether they could find another job that was the case earlier when many overstressed professionals shifter jobs when they felt suffocated in their current jobs.
Moreover, the Pandemic has also imposed a new form of Urban Angst wherein professionals had to run from pillar to post to procure even basic necessities such as Milk and Vegetables and this increased their stress levels during the time the lockdowns were in force.
Of course, now with the Lockdowns being lifted, some sort of stress alleviation is possible, though studies have shown that the Epidemic of Stress continues to take its toll.
Indeed, now the stressors are the threat of job loss as well as the fact that working from home became a chore.
How Professionals Can Beat Stress and Avoid Burnout When Working from Home
Having said that, there are ways and means through which professionals can combat stress and these include saying no to extra work despite their bosses urging them to do so.
In addition, they need to schedule calls and attend Zoom meetings in paced manner rather than being nervous wrecks that are always online.
In other words, they have to have what is known as Me Time or the slots in a typical working day where they take time off to attend to their physical and mental health.
They can do this by exercising and keeping themselves fit and at the same time, pursuing some hobbies such as painting and other stress busting activities.
Indeed, professionals have to find alternatives to staying glued to their computers all the time or scrolling endlessly on their Smartphones if they have to avoid burnout.
Work from Home Does Not Mean Working 24/7 and Me Time Slots
While these are simple steps that anybody can follow the other aspects such as not taking calls at all times and instructing their colleagues to leave messages instead of expecting them to be online all the time are detailed steps that they must take in conjunction with their employers.
This is where corporates have to cooperate by not stressing them.
For instance, many experts have come out with detailed guidelines for employers on how not to stress their employees out.
Some of these include not sending work after office hours which in the present case means late evenings and nights as well as not expecting their employees to be On Call on a 24/7 basis.
In other words, Work from Home does not mean Working All the Time and just like working in physical offices, employees need to switch off after the close of business hours.
Moreover, the gains from lack of commute need to be used productively and not to present another layer of stress.
For instance, women employees who work from home must not be expected to work late hours, especially if they have to tend to kids.
In addition, it is futile to expect employees to deal with double workloads when they are already stressed out.
Of course, while these are steps that experts recommend, the reality is that most professionals are now more stressed than they were before.
Above all, the lack of physical contact and exercise makes many professionals into Zombies and this is where sensitive employers can make the difference to their stressed employees.
New Rules of Work for the New Normal
Last, while the Pandemic has started tapering off, work from home is likely to continue for some more time.
Therefore, it is high time that corporates came up with New Rules of Work for the New Normal wherein they take into account the New Realities and Reboot and Reorient their working arrangements.
While Return to Normal is not guaranteed, there are practical measures that can ease the stress and strain of adjusting to the New Normal.
This is the central challenge before corporates if they are to avoid the problem of their employees stressing out and burning themselves out now.
Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)
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