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How are your employees feeling?

Needing to work on site can make people feel unsafe in worrying times such as during the pandemic.

Over the past year, there has been a great deal of focus on the psychological stress of working from home, being isolated and social distancing. One group of people that is easily forgotten is those who need to be on site to be able to do their job. Therese Fröman works as an organizational consultant and graduate psychologist at Psykologifabriken, a company that works to create happier organizations and more sustainable and successful teams.  

“It is just as important to talk about the psychological strain affecting those who are required to be on site to carry out their job. Many workplaces have been split into those who work from home and those that are required to be on site. Managers have an important role in maintaining a shared team spirit in these challenging conditions,” Therese explains.

“It is also important for employees to feel they are being heard, have a chance to speak and suggest improvements and new ideas, so that they feel they are able to influence the situation,” Therese continues.  

“Loss of control is a common cause of worry and reduced wellbeing in connection with stress. If the worry becomes too consuming, managers may obviously also need to support the employee through company healthcare for example,” she explains.  

“It is also important to think about how you approach colleagues who express concern. Just saying ”don’t worry” is unlikely to magically alleviate any worries. It is better to validate the feelings and show them that you are listening.”

Therese’s top tips

Is a member of staff worried about working onsite? Here are five exercises that can help.

  1. The psychological training tip Let your worry-brain rest for a whilecan help your colleague have more control over worrying thoughts. The brain is like velcro for negative thoughts and teflon for positive. They might need to help their brain not give the negative thoughts too much space.
  2. The training tip 100,000 kr for not getting stressedhighlights how difficult it is to control feelings, and can help them to do what is important despite feeling uncomfortable.  
  3. Support from people close to us sometimes provides the most effective recovery during times of stress. The exercise Hold a handhighlights the calming effect of physical contact and closeness.
  4. It is easy to lose your bearings in worrying times. The psychological training tip Last day at work, is a classic that can help your colleague to gain an insight into what is important to them. Maybe they can do the exercise with a twist: “Imagine this is the final day of the pandemic. Write down the speech a colleague is making about what it has been like to work with you during this challenging period.” 
  5. Studies have shown that training tips such as Happy now, can actively increase positive feelings for up to a month afterwards! In addition to being pleasant, positive feelings also have a number of benefits for cognitive capacity and social ability.