Uncertainty is the mother of anxiety, and unprecedented times like COVID-19 are causing waves of anxiety. More and more people are losing their confidence and ability to multi-task with the economic collapse and health fragilities the pandemic has created.
Prior to COVID-19, companies would occasionally make an effort to create awareness of the importance of maintaining health. Today, in the midst of the pandemic, it is imperative to maintain their mental health as much as possible.
When we mention managers, the immediate belief is that a manager’s primary responsibility is to support his/her team members. However, it is also simultaneously important for a manager to support their mental health primarily too.
In the light of the pandemic, here are some effective and simple strategies we have seen many managers across the world, employing to maintaining their health.
- As a manager, it is already quite challenging to ensure your in-house team is on track with projects and performances. In a pandemic and a work-from-home model, it is even more difficult.
As a human, even managers are vulnerable to pressure. However, with radical changes incoming, managers have learned to open up even more.
We are seeing managers striving for regular catch-ups with their superiors and even their team members, sharing insights into the work pressure and existing challenges. They are normalizing sharing their own feelings and struggles related to work and inviting ideas and resources to overcome those challenges. We find this a very healthy initiative towards a positive work atmosphere.
- One important aspect of high performance is regular check-ins with people who directly report to managers. This was important even in the pre-pandemic days, but managers did not really put too much effort into it.
The consequences were mounting pressure, missed deadlines, and more work stress because no one really paid heed to the signs of someone’s struggle. Now, managers are making conscientious efforts to keep a regular check on their team members, encouraging a more communicative relationship with each other.
Without being overbearing or trying to micromanage things, managers are creating a space where members are comfortable sharing ideas, inputs, and even their struggles. Efforts to make work easy are quite evident, and managers and members alike are promoting more compassion. With a closer connection, stress and pressure are dissipating, and more trust is building.
- A physical office model did not offer much in the way of flexibility. Managers and heads leaned more towards relentless and rigid work models. In doing so, not only were the employees continuously under pressure psychologically, but so were the managers.
Trying to micromanage everything and meeting strict deadlines are some of the biggest reasons managers suffer from stress. Now, managers have eased up as well. They are focusing more on inclusivity and flexibility. It is very important to remember that the manager’s team and the manager’s needs will evolve.
Managers have now switched to a customized approach when addressing stressors, such as childcare, during work challenges, and expecting the employees to work all the time. Managers are offering flexibility proactively and setting the same standards for themselves. When one sets their own schedules even if it requires working lesser hours, it helps the team and the manager’s skills to thrive because they work while being relaxed mentally.
Unprecedented times call for work patterns to change, but this does not mean managers must compromise their work health. On the contrary, it is all the more important for team leaders to be in the best of mental health so that productivity can remain constant despite the pandemic. With a few simple changes in work habits, managers can go a long way in keeping their minds free of stress and anxiety.