During times of crisis and uncertainty it is easy to feel distracted or experience brain fog. Seemingly simple work tasks may start to feel like monumental chores. Perhaps you’re struggling to stay focused and productive. You’re likely dealing with uncertainty in multiple facets of your life. The pandemic has taken a toll on mental health and wellbeing. Neuroscientist, Dr. Kilke Plassmann, of INSEAD recently coined the phrase “Covid-19 brain” to describe the anxious frazzled and fragile state of mind that has many of us unfocused and on edge.
This type of brain fatigue is the result of the overwhelming uncertainty we’re facing. Our ability to analyze and think critically weakens, meanwhile we’re also struggling to cope with a heightened emotional state. If you or your fellow employees are exhibiting signs of brain fatigue, here are some ways you can lessen its impact.
For some, just acknowledging the existence of Covid-19 brain can help. By giving the issue a name, they can begin to manage it and overcome the anxieties associated with it. However, others may require more support.
Provide Clear & Concise Communications
If you’re giving instructions or making a request, do your best to provide all the relevant information in one place so others don’t have to go searching for what they need to complete the task, attend a meeting, or respond to your request.
Check-in Regularly & Offer Reminders
Reinforce the idea that each individual is a valuable member of the team by check-in with them regularly whether it be via text, phone, email, Slack, or some other service that they prefer. By checking in, you can confirm that the individual understands what has been asked of them and remind them of any deadlines.
Encourage Your Team to Stay Connected
Keeping everyone feeling connected is particularly important while everyone is working from home. This connection can occur by taking a few minutes in one-on-one calls or at the beginning of meetings to discuss life beyond work. You can even encourage team members to get together while remaining physically distant from each other by going to a park or other outdoor space.
It is important to urge everyone to take time for themselves to practice self-care. For many it can begin to feel that the distinction between our personal lives and work has blurred, especially for those working from home. We must encourage one another to take breaks to recharge.
Look Out for One Another & Seek Help When Needed
If you start to see a rapid decline in an individual’s productivity, work ethic, or other unusual behavior or attitude changes, it is critical that you speak up – whether it’s a co-worker or even yourself. Take advantage of employee assistance programs or contact human resources. It’s important to look out for each other in such trying times.
By working together with your colleagues, you can help to lessen the impact of the brain drain associated with Covid-19.