Best Practices

Essential Worker Burnout

5 reasons they’re about to snap
While office workers are cozy at home in their remote offices, essential workers from healthcare to manufacturing to hospitality have been showing up on site day after day throughout the pandemic. In the first several months, many companies instituted hazard pay or provided paid leave when employees were infected by the coronavirus, but much of those policies were short-term.

Essential workers are now reporting record rates of depression, anxiety and even PTSD. If your company depends on the efforts of frontline employees, they might be in need of some extra support. Here are five reasons they’re at the end of their ropes:

They can’t afford to miss work

Many essential workers don’t have the sort of financial safety net that allows them to take unpaid leave when they’re sick — or when they need to stay home to care for a family member that’s contracted COVID. If they’ve tested positive but don’t have severe symptoms, they may feel tempted to keep working even when it means they could be putting coworkers at risk.

They’re worried about being infected at work

Frontline workers realize that some of their coworkers may be showing up at work even after testing positive for COVID. That’s compounded by management not always enforcing mask requirements, social distancing and cleaning protocols. That puts employees in the position of policing the behavior of their teammates, which can be uncomfortable. It also may be met with resistance from others.

Feature employees as well as execs

One unfortunate phenomenon of the pandemic is a dramatic rise in widespread rudeness, from reckless driving to obnoxious passengers on planes. Frontline workers are reporting extreme customer rudeness that is degrading, humiliating and sometimes even violent. When you’ve been trained that the customer is always right, it’s hard to know how to respond to such poor behavior.

Coworkers are calling in sick – or quitting

When the work environment is already stressful, not having appropriate staffing levels places a heavy load on the employees who are still showing up. Overwork and burnout are major issues in healthcare, of course, where patient volume is up and staffing is down. But other industries, from manufacturing to retail to services ranging from food delivery to carpet cleaning, are feeling the squeeze as well.

They resent remote workers

Meanwhile, these essential workers might feel like everyone else in the world — or at least in their companies — is getting to work from home in their sweatpants and slippers. There could be widespread resentment in your company on the part of the frontline workers who continue to work in a challenging environment while their corporate colleagues have all gone remote.

How can we help?

Tribe does internal communications – and that’s all we do. We’re a full-service shop, from audits and strategy to creative and production.

Steve Baskin
President and Chief Strategy Officer
Office: (404) 256-5858
Mobile: (404) 663-7910
[email protected]