Overcoming Pandemic Fatigue

‘As a leader, you want your employees to feel and know that they’re not alone.’

It has been a stressful year with the COVID-19 pandemic. If you or your employees have been feeling tired more than usual, know that you are not alone. We share with you some tips so you and your team can work on overcoming pandemic fatigue together.

– Listen to your team

– Adapt

– Find time to disconnect

Listen to previous episodes to get more tips for business owners during the pandemic.

Roger: Hello. Welcome to local SEO today. I’m Roger Murphy.

John: And I’m John Vuong. 

Roger: We want to welcome our listeners today. We’ve got a great topic that we want to talk about. It’s very, very current and John, you know, we’ve been talking about the pandemic. We’ve all been living it all over, around the world for almost a year. So, this is really to talk to business owners and entrepreneurs about  the fatigue, the pandemic and what it’s done to us and maybe some thoughts on how to get through it.

John: Yeah, definitely. It’s been already a year and I know a lot of people has been impacted in one way or another. It could either be personal, they might know of people that have had, you know, Covid, as well as people that overcame it, some that hasn’t. Some that, you know, businesses in particular that had been impacted heavily especially if you’re a bricks and mortar, store front, very localized. You don’t know if there’s gonna still be that demand when things open up again. So, we’re gonna to talk about the entire fatigue, of how to overcome ir really, in this episode. 

Roger: One of the numbers we saw recently, John, is and I believe it. All over North America it’s probably on but 75% of employees went interviewed and surveyed are reporting this fatigue, this burnout because everyone’s lives…I know, the way we work has changed. Everyone has had to alter how they do their business, you know, it’s taken a toll. And I’m glad people are actually talking about it because it’s not just not enough dollars and cents. We’re all human beings and we, you know, we’re all living through this and handling it in different ways.

John: Yeah, and there’s gonna be definitely mental tools, physical tools, health goals, like, if you think about all dimensions of your life. If you do have children, how have you adapted to children that used to go to school now it’s homeschooling, now it’s zoom calls and then if you used to go to the gym or have physical activities, you can’t even do that in certain aspects of if you live in Canada or US because nothing’s open and the sports activities and hobbies that you were accustomed to doing on a weekly, monthly basis had been shut. That social interaction with family and friends even. Where we used to connect with them on a regular basis now it’s over zoom calls, or Skype or video phone calls. It’s different. So, definitely it’s impacted everyone. 

Roger: Yeah, and the social aspect, you know, because we are social animals, even if you, you know, are maybe an introvert, you still want to get out and be in the middle of people and whether you’re at your local coffee shop having a coffee and you know, sitting on your laptop or reading a book, whatever it is, we’re not able to do that. So yeah, there’s lots of examples and I think we got some really interesting things to talk about here in terms of overcoming this pandemic fatigue.

John: Yeah, and you’re not alone. So, one thing I do want to let every listener know is there are a lot of people going through the exact same situation, moments and, you know, life events as you are, and we are all in this together because it’s new to everyone. We’ve never gone through a pandemic in our lifetime and hopefully we don’t have to at the end of our lifetime, either. So…

Roger: That’s right and right now we’re gonna start talking about realistic optimism but the word right now is that vaccines are on their way, there’s good efficacy, you know, it’s finally happening. But this idea, John, of realistic optimism.

John: Yeah, like the first thing is…Yes, there is a vaccine. Yes, it’s been a year. It’s the first time a vaccine has been deployed this quickly, this rapidly, because we’ve never endured a pandemic, global pandemic that has altered everyone’s life situation.So..Yes, there is hope. Yes, we are hopeful that things get back to normal. People want to move, spend and get together again and that means if you’re a business or you’re an employee at a job or a company, things will slowly get back to normal, right? Like you will be able to see people again, you will be able to go into the office or go for coffees soon but don’t forget, like, there is still like the, you know, COVID is still around, right? So, you still need to practice safe precautions, toy still need to wear the mask, you still need to wash your hands, social distance and all that other stuff.

Roger: And as a leader, if you’re the business owner, you know, this idea of realistic optimism just…I like the idea of even just being empathetic and as you say, John, everyone’s in it together. We all are. But as a leader, you want your employees to feel and know that they’re not alone and that, you know, we’re all getting through this, we are all gonna get through this together.

John: Exactly, and lead by example, right? So, I know it’s hard even on yourself, maybe you are in a very difficult situation as well, right? Like working now at home, your business has been impacted in terms of not good demand and revenue and supply and all that other stuff. But are you going to be around for much longer if things don’t open up? It’s hard but you have to be optimistic, you need to really let your employees know that things will get back to normal, things will be better. We’ve gone through really tough times but once things…The vaccines out. Once people start moving again, revenue. People are just pent up, like there is a demand that’s waiting to explode because there’s people that has paid more than ever before. And people haven’t traveled for a year and you know, if you look at your mileage in your car, I’m lucky to have traveled over 1000 kilometers or 2,000 kilometers in a year, like my whole world revolved around two kilometer radius of grocery shopping, right? Because I had to follow the rules and regulations from what the government has mandated. So imagine that where you used to travelling 10, 15 thousand kilometers, you know, it’s all pent up.

Roger: So, there’s…That’s happening and the idea of being a leader too, as well, John, you know, listening to your team members, something we do in our company is, we have a bit of a roundtable every week and if you’re a business owner, it’s something to consider if you haven’t done it before. But to really reach out and ask questions, ask your employees, you know, open up even about yourself how you’re handling it, and ask them how they’re because people do want to just express their feelings so that’ll help them get through this as well.

John: Exactly. So, definitely, that’s number two, like listen to not just your staff, but your clients as well and letting them understand that, you know, just be vulnerable, let them in on your life, how you’re handling it mentally as well as you know, physically and you know what changes you’ve made and maybe that will allow for people to collaborate, right? Open up to their situation and so you can actually empathize and provide some feedback, input and suggestions on how we can all be better, right? Like, happier together because people want support more than ever, and you don’t know what kind of support they currently have in their personal life. So, if you can just add that layer of dimensional value in their lives, it will mean a huge thing for them. 

Roger: Excellent and third topic or top point we want to make, of course, was focusing on this connection and well being and maybe it is this idea of mentally taking care of themselves and, you know, if you feel energy drain, you know, what are the sources of it, and  how to take care of that, taking breaks that sort of thing.

John: Yeah, and I know, there’s a lot of video online video that’s been happening especially for people that aren’t used to this, right? From students to now employees and businesses and therefore, you need to disconnect sometimes, you need to go out for a walk, you need to remember that this is short term and it’s new. And don’t force yourself to something that you’re not comfortable doing but you have to learn to adapt, right? It addresses, right? Like, let your employees know, as well as yourself that you need to connect, but you need to disconnect as well and it’s a part of this whole well being aspect.

Roger: Something we’ve always spoken of, John, too is that because we all are. This is you know, for most people, they’re at a desk or many people or a desk or in front of a computer but the idea of stepping out, getting some like take that as you say disconnect, just get some fresh air, get outside because you without realizing it before you know it, how many minutes and hours have gone by and you’re sitting and you’re you know, tied into this, you know, technology. So, this idea of helping yourself but just disconnect and get up, take a little bit of a break during the day. 

John: Exactly. And I think a lot of people who have set up their home office, remote office…Did they set it up properly? Do you have an ergonomic chair? Is it standing desk? Do you have things that allow you to work efficiently, effectively and healthy as well? And yes, your eyes are gonna be sore at the end of the day, right? If you’re in front of a computer all day long, in zoom meetings talking. So, make sure you’re equipped with water, make sure you are rested well, you’re eating well, move around, right?All these things matter but it’s hard when this is all new for a lot of people. So, make sure you take that time to disconnect as well.

Roger: I like the one also, then there’s another point we want to touch on, which is depending on your type of business but to talk about wins and small wins or goals that have been achieved, and celebrate them and do that and do it together. And it’s almost, you know, it’s great for the mental health and it encourages people, they feel like they’re doing a good job. 

John: Exactly. And I think we’ve done all our lives, in sales, Roger, it’s like, don’t just celebrate the largest win, right? Or annual wins, you need the smaller celebrations of success, right? Renewal client or new client, or a new project that’s ongoing, a new staff that’s joining us, anything that is fine, right? There with the team, embrace it, as well as, you know, on the weekends, if you’re able to disconnect completely do it or Hey, get off the computer and you know, phone or whatever and just enjoy it in the moment, right? Like just living presently without distractions are so important in today’s life. 

Roger: Yeah, and of course, that’s all about, that’s the employee side as an employer/entrepreneur that you know, you own and you’re running the business. Getting over this pandemic we have a time and a moment to really look at the business and evolving the business and that evolution of the business. What does that mean? Is it to maybe refocus on what your company’s purpose is? You know, is the purpose changing? Certainly, we’re in a different environment but it’s a time where you can sit back and I certainly had been…I was contacted many times through the year by business owners, when they had that time and they realized, we’re gonna come out of this thing. I want to now evolve or strategize for the post pandemic.

John:Exactly. So, the number four point is how do you evolve your business? How do you pivot? How do you ensure that everything’s stronger once things are back to normal? Or what the next couple months or a couple years…You strengthen your company. You have a better value proposition. Do you have a better core values? Do you take care of your employees even better? Do you have better strategic services, product out there? Do you understand and listen to your customers better, because during this pandemic you’re able to reflect on your business process, your systems, your people, your supply chain, your rental space. There’s so many components that you can actually look in, delve deep and really analyze to see what has worked and what hasn’t. And yes, this is a temporary thing. You know, this pandemic and hopefully, with the vaccine, it will allow everyone to get back to some sort of more normal normality, right? And maybe it is a hybrid approach as well that with this pandemic, allow you to remove some of your fixed costs, like office space. Maybe it’s a hybrid approach with co-sharing spaces, look at different opportunities, pivot around because with things that happened like this, during this pandemic, businesses are created, disruption is happening and people can actually take some time to analyze what’s going on. And if you haven’t done that, for your business, you should start as soon as  possible.

Roger: That’s right and you’ll see what has worked, what you had to evolve. Maybe some things are temporary, John, maybe some things are permanent. You know, the way people have been consuming products in terms of this online, again, you know, it may be maybe you as a business owner started some sort of delivery service or pick up delivery, whatever it is but you may have a new type of interaction that’s working quite well for your clients.

John: Teleconferencing, video, people might be very comfortable with not meeting you in person anymore and you can then open your own entire business to not just service local, it could be global. 

Roger: That’s right. You have to be agile, you have to be flexible. That’s what this pandemic has done for all of us. I mean, we can all rhyme off a number of things that we did not do. I can say that zoom was not on my radar a year ago. If you had said hey, Roger, what’s zoom all about? I would have gone, “What are you talking about?” And now it’s as normal as anything out there.

John: Yeah. And then those conferences, those events…How is it gonna come back stronger than ever? Are they? So, now with this zoom and meetings online? I mean, with the costs going down for a lot of these businesses? Do they want to fork up X amount just to run a conference again? 

Roger: Exactly, you know, there’s…Maybe this, you know, this is our topic in terms of overcoming this pandemic, John. These ideas that which have been great but it is true and I always like this philosophical saying which is, “In every crisis, there is opportunity.” And this pandemic shifted and made a lot of people have to reevaluate a number of things but there is opportunity all through this.

John: Exactly. And just like in business and in life, there’s things that you have to overcome, right? There’s gonna be challenges and this is just a blip out of your entire lifespan. And if you’re going to be able to come out stronger than ever, you’re going to be happier than ever because then you’re going to reflect on what just went on in the past year, year and a half. And hopefully, I overcame it, I made some changes, and I’m happier than ever,

Roger: There you go. So, and I know this is all about overcoming that pandemic fatigue but we’ve touched on a whole number of really important parts and everyone can have…Everyone will know exactly what we’re talking about and I’m sure they appreciate some of the input you’ve given today too, John. so…

John: Thanks a lot, Roger for this.

Roger: Thank you for today and thanks for listening to this podcast. We’ll see you again and we’ll talk again at Local SEO Today.