July 5, 2023

Help Decrease Employee Stress During the COVID-19 Era

Healthcare workers face stress daily for many reasons, but COVID-19 has created a whole new level of stress in the healthcare field. Fortunately, your organization can alleviate some of it by streamlining your processes and utilizing scheduling software.

Pandemic stressors

Since COVID-19 appeared, healthcare workers have found themselves facing new stressors (besides the obvious health and safety concerns). While some healthcare areas are busier than ever, other areas have suffered a decrease in traffic due to COVID-19. For example, outpatient surgery centers were closed for months, causing some healthcare workers to fear job loss. On the other hand, in other areas like intensive care units, workers may be overwhelmed and overworked. The combination of having long shifts, working overtime, and watching patients pass away creates an entirely new level of stress.

Some areas of healthcare have also had to adapt to new work locations or new processes and technology. Some workers have shifted from slow outpatient areas to busy inpatient units to work at the bedside. COVID-19 has brought different processes to many units as well, especially in areas like personal protective equipment and infection control. Furthermore, many healthcare workers have had to adopt new technology in regards to telemedicine, testing, treatment, and vaccine storage and administration.

As if these work situations weren’t stressful enough, there is also stress on the home front. Healthcare workers with young children have been dealing with homeschooling. Where doctors and nurses used to be able to go home and relax with family, their off-hours may now be spent in Google Classroom helping their children figure out remote learning. Such stress at work and home makes finding comfort even more important.

Ways to decrease employee stress

You can help your employees.

With COVID-19 processes and procedures changing frequently, communication is key to decrease employee stress. Communicating openly with employees about process changes can prevent confusion, frustration, and panic.

When possible, try to elicit staff input about office procedures. Allowing staff to make suggestions on how new procedures can be best implemented in the workplace can make employees feel they have some control over their environment.

Additionally, offering flexible scheduling is one of the most important things that can help decrease employee stress. Given the added strain most healthcare providers are dealing with at home, allowing staff to trade and swap shifts and view the schedule remotely will help them manage their lives and give them some autonomy back.

Finally, offering support services to employees can support them through these challenging times. Most employers offer some type of employee assistance programming for counseling and mental health services in a confidential manner. Take advantage of these services to help preserve your employees’ well-being.

How scheduling software can help

Scheduling can either add stress to the workplace or decrease it. With Intrigma’s scheduling software, you have multiple opportunities to decrease it. For example, utilize scheduling rules that take provider preferences into consideration and generate schedules automatically based on those preferences. This feature will both decrease stress on your providers and decrease the time you spend on creating and editing schedules.

Again, being flexible with scheduling can also help working parents balance schedules with family time or homeschooling. Creating transparency in the workplace is possible with scheduling software that can be accessed remotely from home computers or cell phones. This type of transparency allows providers to fill in last-minute openings in the schedule quickly. For example, if a provider is out sick, other providers in the unit can see the open shift and step in.

While the stressors of COVID-19 are probably not going away any time soon, there are ways your organization can help support your healthcare providers during these challenging times. To learn more about how scheduling software can help, contact Intrigma.