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Chronic Uncertainty: How to Deal with Your Team’s Ups and Downs

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Feeling a little numb these days?

Many of us are. Months of isolation and relentless worry about our health, our livelihood and our future have settled around us like a thick blanket of fog. Stress levels have been so high for so long, they’re practically palpable.

While you’ve likely taken great care to address your clients’, candidates’ and temporary associates’ needs throughout this pandemic, it’s just as important to look inward. During a time when a sense of security is hard to come by, you need to take great care of your team – and yourself, too.

Here are a few ways to help your staff deal with their ups and downs:

Discourage “doomscrolling.”

Bad news and horrifying videos are everywhere, sucking us in and heightening anxiety. And (surprise, surprise) continually filling our minds with fear-inducing content is bad for physical and mental health. So don’t do it. Instead, encourage your team to prune their social feeds (unfollowing accounts that fuel paranoia) and limit the time they spend online, especially before bedtime.

Be transparent.

In the absence of sound information, your employees’ imaginations will run wild, often latching onto worst-case scenarios. Instead of trying to protect your team from tough news, be honest. Regularly communicate important company updates, and share your plans for the future. Even if you admit that you don’t have all the answers right now, your staff will appreciate your candor.

Talk about the impact.

Address the elephant in the room (lookin’ at you, anxiety and depression). Check in with your employees – both as a group, and individually – to discuss the effect chronic uncertainty has on their mindset, job performance, personal relationships and more. Sometimes, the simple act of sharing concerns goes a long way toward alleviating the stress they create.

Lead by example.

Take breaks. Resist your urge to doomscroll. Share good news. Smile. Exercise. Share stress management tips and healthy habits that serve you well. Your employees will follow your lead.

Be realistic about productivity.

Excessive workloads can make employees feel they are constantly failing. Build a little breathing room into their schedules, and acknowledge the fact that it’s natural for their mood and productivity to have ups and downs right now. That extra bit of slack may be all they need to recharge, refocus and boost their performance.

Encourage downtime.

The pressure to always be available is stronger than ever, especially if your team is remote. Make sure employees limit the hours they are available – and take your own good advice.

Practice radical empathy.

As we mentioned in this earlier post, constant change has put massive amounts of stress on virtually everyone. Providing flexibility and alternatives for your employees in the face of this unprecedented situation is essential to making it through.

What works for you?

How is your staffing firm coping with chronic uncertainty? If you have tips to share, I’d love to hear about them. Leave a comment below or email me. And if you’re looking for free resources to get through these tough times, visit our Covid Recovery page.

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