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This content is taken from the Maudsley Learning & The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust's online course, COVID-19: Psychological Impact, Wellbeing and Mental Health. Join the course to learn more.

How might COVID-19 affect workplace teams & businesses?

In this step, we’ll refer back to Susan’s story to think about the impact on teams and the workplace, and hear from Robyn again on team dynamics.

Much of the content we’ve covered already applies to teams in a workplace setting. This step will add more key considerations for you to apply to your own experiences.

Recap - Susan’s story

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Download Transcript of Susan’s Story (right click or tap/hold and open in new tab)

Susan’s story brings up a notable theme of managing uncertainty. While we can all relate to dealing with uncertainty during this time, there were particular examples for Susan in the workplace context.

Susan mentioned colleagues that had been “laid off” and were no longer working at her company. This raised how difficult this could be for them, but also a level of uncertainty across the whole team and business. We know that for individuals and teams, job security and current business climate have an impact on workplace stress and well-being. Consequently, uncertainty around the organisational climate and job security appears to be negatively affecting Susan and her colleagues.

Another aspect of uncertainty that Susan raises relates directly to her team. She states that they don’t know how each other are doing or getting on, although she seems to think that they may all be struggling with similar issues. There is also the suggestion that they are not seeing the best in each other.

Susan is annoyed by some of her colleagues during their online social activities, while she says that she misses her colleagues in the office. She is even surprised that she is missing chatting by the water cooler and casual social interactions at work.

Susan’s thinking is clearly turning to her working relationships and the impact that they have on her. She has found it hard to replace these social interactions, and realises the value of a physical environment. While online solutions have been offered, they appear to not fully meet Susan’s needs and support her well-being in the same way.

Building on team relationships and interactions, we have another short video from Robyn Vasey on team dynamics.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Download Transcript of Robyn Vasey on Team Dynamics (right click or tap/hold and open in new tab)

The systemic thinking that Robyn demonstrates allows us to consider the impact and challenges to teams from another perspective. Psychological mechanisms can again give insight into issues such as competition, which may also link to Susan’s observation that she doesn’t know what her team is up to.

The feelings of a team and how these can translate into roles provide another example of the bridge between individual and group experiences. Building on this, Robyn also began to examine organisational roles, such as meeting staff expectations of support. This organisational level thinking will continue in later steps.

How do the concepts mentioned here apply to your experience? Have you, or people you know, been dealing with uncertainty at work? Can you think of times where you’ve seen these team dynamics play out?

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This article is from the free online course:

COVID-19: Psychological Impact, Wellbeing and Mental Health

Maudsley Learning