When the pandemic surged around the world, tens of millions of people were told their employment was suspended, or they were asked to work from home. Now, as the vaccine rollout is gaining steam, and cases of COVID-19 are declining in most countries,...
When the pandemic surged around the world, tens of millions of people were told their employment was suspended, or they were asked to work from home. Now, as the vaccine rollout is gaining steam, and cases of COVID-19 are declining in most countries, employees are being asked to return to the workplace.
This has created uncertainty and an extremely stressful situation for many. Will I be safe at work? Will my job be the same? Will I be working with the same people? Will I still be working from home on a full or part-time basis? So many questions that all lead to the potential for increased anxiety.
It’s a challenge that companies are now turning to diversity and inclusion expert Barbara Annis for assistance with. She says many CEOs have expressed their biggest concerns as employees’ wellbeing and productivity. In response, Barbara created a series of Learning Nudges, microlearning modules that can be helpful in addressing issues, specifically related to returning to work with success.
Back to Work with Success Program Overview:
There are also important gender differences relating to ‘back to work.’ Barbara explains. She says that in the research she’s done, men are experiencing twice as much stress as before, and women are experiencing four times as much. Brain differences help to explain some of that, as women have a larger pre-fontal cortex, where it’s believed most of our ‘consequential thinking’ takes place.
Barbara says it’s up to employers to provide the tools to deal with anxiety and stress in the workplace. She says they have a responsibility to set the tone for teams and be welcoming, empathetic and inclusive. Paul described an event he attended where they made special accommodation for introverts including buttons to wear, and a room where they could go go and unwind. He described as a great way to set the tone.
“The biggest trap is to do nothing,” says Barbara. She says organizations shouldn’t assume that everything is going to go back to normal. She says smart companies are being planful and intentional. The Back to Work with Success program is designed to empower individuals to be more self-initiated in reducing anxiety. “With our program, they can do it in brief 3 to 5 minute ‘microlearning’ moments.”
Overview of Learning Nudges Programs for Organizations