Stressed young woman grab head while sitting with son schoolboy at table with textbooks and notebook and studying difficult online homeworkBy Shawn Conrad, CAE

We’ve all seen the reports around the tight labor market and rightfully so. Hospitality, construction, retail, and manufacturing industries like parking and mobility are grappling with a shortage of workers as our businesses and economy inch forward.

While the search for new employees is getting a lot of attention, it’s important to check-in on our current staff members to see how they are coping with today’s stresses.

In a number of human resources-focused reports on the status of employees’ mental health during the pandemic, it comes as no surprise that our employees are dealing with an extra heaping of worries that stem from COVID, its variants, the stress of children being home and schooled virtually, work budgets being cut or reduced, and a plethora of work or personal issues. With all this happening at once, take some time to see how your team members are coping. While the issues people deal with can be complex, there are a few things supervisors can do to decrease an employee’s stress and anxieties:

  • Be transparent with your information–surprises amplify anxieties.
  • Be flexible, if possible, with work hours to help parents work around their children’s virtual schooling.
  • Plan work projects in advance and prioritize them so co-workers can meet expectations and timetables.
  • Ask your employees how they are doing–and really listen to their response.
  • Acknowledge what people are doing and let them know you appreciate them.

Most important, be sure to focus on your well-being. As the airline industries have cemented in our brains, put your oxygen mask on first before trying to help others.

There are going to be challenges ahead of us, but if we look after each other and take care of our physical and mental well-being, we will be able to tackle these challenges and seize the opportunities coming our way as well.

Shawn Conrad, CAE, is IPMI’s CEO.