People Acuity Newsletter – November 2021

COVID Fatigue: It’s the Feeling Without a Name

You may be among the millions who are asking, “How much more of this can we take?!”

Emotional exhaustion is everywhere as people try to navigate the frustrating, heartbreaking, and increasing burden of responsibility and problems brought on by the global pandemic.  At this juncture, COVID fatigue is more commonplace than the wearying virus itself.  In fact, it is birthing what may become a twin pandemic – one of widespread mental health problems.

Vaile Wright, senior director of health care innovation at the American Psychological Association characterized COVID fatigue with one word, “overwhelming.”  She suggested that when COVID fatigue is present you are, “overwhelmed to the point where you feel like you don’t have the capacity to deal anymore. It’s physical tiredness. It’s mental tiredness. It’s difficulty concentrating. It’s all the things that we experience when we’re just at our capacity.”[1] 

Wright and other mental health experts describe seeing a marked increase in these kinds of COVID fatigue symptoms:

Mental and Emotional Symptoms Physical Symptoms
Hopelessness or apathy Sleep issues
“Brain fog” Stomach problems
Feelings of disconnection from others Headaches
Irritability, nervousness, excessive impatience Muscle problems
Loss of motivation Tension, tightness, stiffness
Difficulty concentrating or focusing Exhaustion that never goes away
A sense of being incompetent or ineffective (even when it seems you’re over-performing at work or home) Unusual weight gain or loss
Making more mistakes than usual
Frustration

There aren’t very many people who have not experienced one or more of these symptoms in the past two years – and for many people, they have been present during the entire pandemic.  By way of validation, you might be relieved to know that this is perfectly normal!  Excessive stress does this to all humans.

While that may be nice to know, the more critical question is, “What can you do about it if it’s still present for you or others you care about?”  This is where we really need to be looking if we are going to avoid the devastation of prolonged COVID fatigue.

The solution lies with first recognizing that it’s not what’s happening to you that causes you to feel so utterly depleted – either due to the situation you are in or the people who are around you.  As you can see from the image shown below: it’s how you See (or interpret what is happening) that informs how you Feel, what you Do, and ultimately what you Get.  This means that if you can change how you see, then you change the feeling of exhaustion, along with the symptoms, behaviors, and outcomes that follow.

[1] Vaile Wright, YouTube, March 2021.

If you look a little closer at this image, you will also notice that how you See is directly influenced by your Primary Strengths Lens, given that your strengths act like a contact lens sitting directly over your eyes.  They inform your beliefs about how things work, your needs, and your triggers, along with your ability to contribute to great outcomes.

Interestingly, in the midst of COVID fatigue lies an unsuspecting gift that has a direct impact on your ability to accelerate positive outcomes. Your strengths are being directly grown through the experiences, challenges, and setbacks brought on by the pandemic – and they are growing stronger than you know!  COVID fatigue, after all, is a bit like the muscle fatigue you experience when you are lifting weights to grow your physical strength.

It’s important to remember that just like when exercising physically, you need to pause and rest in between the moments when your muscles are pushed to the limit.  Rest, by the way, doesn’t mean spending mindless hours binging on Netflix in the hopes that somehow you will be restored.  You need the kind of rest that will refill your mental bucket and shift your negatively-skewed perspective.

While there are many ways to reset the way you see, many individuals around the globe are finding that this is the perfect time to take, or retake their personal strengths assessment, as this provides feedback about the strengths that have grown during these past difficult years.  It also reveals your strongest tools to you to help you respond differently to what is happening.  Your confidence and hope are deeply bolstered by studying your contributions and considering how to more effectively activate your strengths to help you.  Especially right now!

A strength, by definition is, “A way of being or doing that lifts you and others to the Optimal Zone” – the Optimal Zone being a place of high energy and performance.  Seeing and activating your strengths gives you the needed energy to lift you out of COVID fatigue to a higher and healthier way of being.  And helping others see and use their strengths gives them the tools they need to overcome COVID fatigue too.  You can help stop the twin pandemic of mental illness by leveraging the power of your strengths!

To help you or others recover from COVID fatigue, People Acuity is proud to offer you a very special solution at our COVID fatigue impact price. If you sign up before November 3rd 2021 you will receive your StrengthsMultiplier top 7 assessment and a 1-hour Power of Strengths at Work virtual workshop to understand how to put your strengths to work, (a regular combined price of $100). You can now start the road to recovery from COVID fatigue at our impact price of just $39.95!  Click the link below to learn more.

Warmly,

DeAnna

People Acuity is the world’s premier workforce development and career pathing technology company established to help leading employers develop, engage, and retain top-tier employees for high-impact business growth.  People Acuity partners with employers and industries to construct working career paths for career-seekers, creating talent pipelines to meet defined employer needs. 

This article has been written by DeAnna Murphy – the Chief Development Officer for People Acuity and principal author of Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living and Choose to See You – in collaboration with Dr. Steve Jeffs.  DeAnna and Steve are both Top 100 Global Coaching Leaders who have provided keynotes and leadership development experiences to leaders and teams in 54 countries.

You can now start the road to recovery from COVID fatigue at our impact price of just $39.95!

Start Here!

Multiply Your Strengths

Knowing how to use your strengths in new ways is more important now than ever!  Here’s why.

At the beginning of 2020, the economy was strong, and unemployment was at a 50-year low.  But since the onset of COVID-19, devastating unemployment and rapid shifts in the economy at times have left as much as 15% of the U.S. workforce unemployed, and currently, 60% badly under-employed.  These workers often feel like they are falling farther behind as the speed of business change accelerates.  This is causing morale, productivity, and engagement to plummet to all-time lows – and can have tragic implications for businesses that are already suffering from COVID fatigue.  Today, more than ever, we need strong employees and leaders armed and ready to wholeheartedly work!

What can raise the bar and ensure that individuals can re-position themselves to be major contributors?  What might help organizations get employees up to speed faster and ready to step into the work that is needed in today’s new economy?

The answer is relatively simple: we need employees and leaders who understand not just what their strengths are, but how to combine them in new ways, and use them to create new and better outcomes.  We need people who know how to be StrengthsMultipliers.

Source: Gallup Workplace Journal Link

Individuals who know how to multiply their strengths effectively contribute significantly to the business bottom line. They are six times more likely to be engaged, according to a Gallup study. They are 83% more likely to be part of a high-performing team, according to Marcus Buckingham’s research. As you can see in the chart, strengths use significantly decreases cost-sucking absenteeism and turnover and increases everything from productivity to profitability.

This is why the StrengthsMultiplier assessment tool was created – to empower employees to effectively multiply their strengths in new ways so that they can re-tool and fit themselves into the new roles and relationships that are required by today’s new economy.

This article has been written by DeAnna Murphy – the Chief Organizational Development Officer of People Acuity and principal author of Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living and Choose to See You – in collaboration with Dr. Steve Jeffs.  DeAnna oversees all organizational development work for People Acuity its partners and clients and is a Top 100 Global Coaching Leader who has provided keynotes and leadership development experiences in 32 countries. 

To learn more about online or virtual programs that might help your people multiply their strengths and build their Self-Leadership, click here.

Working After COVID-19: Americans Making Their Voices Heard

At the time of writing this article, it is estimated that just over 53% of the US population has received at least one dose of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccines, and 45% are fully vaccinated. The daily reported statistics for new positive test results in our country have declined sharply in the past month, falling 43%. While we are still encouraged to practice social distancing and attentive hand hygiene, it’s clear the pandemic – and it’s grip on America – is abating. We are all eager for our lives to return to at least most of the normalcy we knew when we rang in 2020, but how do Americans feel about returning to work?

Harris Poll conducted a survey in mid-May 2021 about this topic, and relayed the results to USA Today. The study revealed several key insights that we thought were important to share, as the country continues to re-open, and there are numerous thought-provoking questions and decisions you’ll need to make about how your workforce will do their jobs moving forward. Continue to read below to learn what the respondents shared?

  • 21% – Go to the office sometimes
  • 19% – Back in their office full-time
  • 27% – Never did work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic

If the individual could choose where they do their work:

  • 40% would work remotely or from home permanently
  • 35% would prefer a mix of working remotely and in the office
  • Just 25% would elect to work in the office permanently

The results were interesting when poll participants were asked when they believed all workers at their company would return to the office full-time, being fairly close in almost all given options for their possible answer.

  • Between 13%-19% of those asked chose either within a number of months (1, 1-3, or 4-6) or by the end of 2021.
  • 16% – Didn’t know when
  • 9% – Not until 2022
  • 4% – When the employees want to come back
  • 6% – The company is becoming fully remote (meaning not returning to their pre-pandemic office location at all)

Regarding concerns about returning full-time to their offices, the respondents were basically evenly split between whichever ones listed from which they could choose. Just 9% indicated no concerns.

  • Most chosen overall: Losing the flexibility gained while working from home
  • Specific Concerns Related to COVID-19 and Health
    • Most chosen: Being around people again
    • 2nd most chosen: Possibly being around unvaccinated people
    • 3rd most chosen: Social distancing protocols being abandoned
  • Anxieties or Worries Unrelated to COVID-19 or Health
    • Most chosen: Leery of having to engage in small talk
    • 2nd most chosen: Getting back into their pre-pandemic routine
    • 3rd most chosen: Fear of having forgotten their socialization skills

Organizations are anxious to get back to full capacity as soon as possible, and for certain types of businesses and industries, that will mean workforces must be back at physical, brick-and-mortar locations for at least some period of time during the workday or workweek. This also helps reinstate and reinforce a company’s culture. While this is certainly an understandable position for companies to take, they need to keep in mind the tight labor market and stay abreast of the latest news on the current shortage of workers to fill open positions. Also, they must now realize that people have shown they can be effective in their jobs outside of an office environment, and for a great many, the arrangement is now their preference.

Options available which may remedy these challenges – or at least balance the opposing forces – are businesses accepting the fact that they may lose staff and will need to figure out a way to replace those who leave; and offering flextime, allowing remote working permanently, and compromising to accommodate what has been a way of life for their workers for almost 16 months. Another shockingly simple option can be stated in just a single 3-letter word – ASK. 47% of participants in the May 2021 Harris Poll revealed that the organizations they work for have not even had a discussion or opened a dialogue with employees about their concerns with going back to work in their offices full-time, much less their level of interest in doing so. There are many takeaways for businesses as a result of the survey, and perhaps the most important one is the need to communicate with their valued workforce about moving forward together after the COVID-19 pandemic.

These clients from the Philippines have it right!
Here’s to shifting up others by first shifting up ourselves!
These clients from the Philippines have it right!

If you’d like to learn more about how People Acuity can help prepare your organization for our new world, please call us at 952.797.4317, email us at Info@PeopleAcuity.com, or simply use the link below.

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