Tips to help you overcome COVID-related workplace anxiety

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What about job stress? How’s your COVID resilience?

Last time, it was personal. This time, it’s personnel.

In our previous post, we talked about the personal stresses you might be facing during the current pandemic as well as tips for de-stressing and calming anxiety. Here, we’ll examine how this stress might affect you in the workplace, along with advice for how to overcome COVID-related workplace anxiety.

In addition to the COVID-related stress you may be feeling in your personal life, this new source of anxiety can contribute to feelings of being overwhelmed at work and lead to burnout. Here are a few ways COVID is already affecting many workplaces and daily job life, according to a Chubb study as posted in a Property Casualty 360 article:

Workers are feeling the pain of working at home

More than two out of five Americans working from home report feeling new or increased pain in their shoulders, back or wrists since they started working from home. Younger workers were much more likely than older workers to experience this pain and discomfort. Half of those aged 20–35 reported such pain. Among those aged 56 to 65, it was 28 percent.

Productivity and hours worked are up for many

More than one-third of Americans working from home (37 percent) report being more productive, and another third say their productivity is equal to what they achieve outside the home. Americans are also keeping focused on their jobs. An overwhelming majority — 83 percent — are working the same or more hours at home compared to the office. More than one-third (37 percent) are working longer hours, including 17 percent who are working more than 10 extra hours per week.

Maintaining work/life balance while working from home isn’t easy

Two-thirds (65 percent) say they are maintaining regular working hours, and half are scheduling breaks from work. At the same time, nearly 60 percent report that distractions from family, housemates or pets sometimes make it difficult to work from home. Just 38 percent of respondents say they are setting aside time for family. A minority of workers (43 percent) say they are successful in keeping a separation between work and family activities.

View the infographic.

Now let’s look at some tips from the CDC on recognizing COVID-related workplace anxiety, and how to build resilience for on-the-job stress.

Know the common work-related factors that can add to stress during a pandemic

If you see yourself in any of these concerns, talk with your boss to solve them.

  • Concern about the risk of being exposed to the virus at work
  • Taking care of personal and family needs while working
  • Managing a different workload
  • Lack of access to the tools and equipment needed to perform your job
  • Feelings that you’re not contributing enough to work or guilt about not being on the frontline
  • Uncertainty about the future of your workplace and/or employment
  • Learning new communication tools and dealing with technical difficulties
  • Adapting to a different workspace and/or work schedule

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Follow these tips to build resilience and manage job stress

The following tips are provided by the CDC to help you better manage COVID-related workplace anxiety and strengthen your resilience.

  • Communicate with your coworkers, supervisors, and employees about job stress while maintaining social distancing (at least 6 feet).
    • Identify things that cause stress and work together to identify solutions.
    • Talk openly with employers, employees and unions about how the pandemic is affecting work. Expectations should be communicated clearly by everyone.
    • Ask about how to access mental health resources in your workplace.
  • Identify those things which you do not have control over and do the best you can with the resources available to you.
  • Increase your sense of control by developing a consistent daily routine when possible — ideally one that’s similar to your schedule before the pandemic.
    • Keep a regular sleep schedule.
    • Take breaks from work to stretch, exercise, or check in with your supportive colleagues, coworkers, family and friends.
    • Spend time outdoors, either being physically active or relaxing.
    • If you work from home, set a regular time to end your work for the day, if possible.
    • Practice mindfulness techniques.
    • Do things you enjoy during non-work hours.
  • Know the facts about COVID-19. Be informed about how to protect yourself and others. Understanding the risk and sharing accurate information with people you care about can reduce stress and help you connect with others.
  • Remind yourself that we all have a crucial role in fighting this pandemic.
  • Remind yourself that everyone is in an unusual situation with limited resources.
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting and mentally exhausting
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns, how you are feeling, or how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting you.
    • Connect with others through phone calls, email, text messages, mailing letters or cards, video chat, and social media.
    • Check on others. Helping others improves your sense of control, belonging, and self-esteem. Look for safe ways to offer social support to others, especially if they are showing signs of stress, such as depression and anxiety.
  • If you feel you may be misusing alcohol or other drugs (including prescription drugs) as a means of coping, reach out for help.
  • If you are being treated for a mental health condition, continue with your treatment and be aware of any new or worsening symptoms.

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