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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 other workers?

In this step, we’ll hear from Susan, our last personal story. We’ll explore some of the factors affecting her, and hear from Dr. Robyn Vesey about changes to working life.

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)

Thank you for listening to Susan’s story. There are many points to address, so we’ll focus on two main categories - changes to working life, and interpersonal dynamics at work.

Changes to our working lives

Susan shows signs of stress in her video. She appeared frustrated or fed up with certain things, said that she had more ups and downs than usual, and was worrying about herself and her mother.

She talked about isolation due to remote working, including missing people, not feeling connected, and feeling sceptical of digital solutions.

Susan highlighted that her usual routines and coping strategies for her well-being were disrupted. This included the “structure” of her life, work-based routines such as going to the gym and socialising, and well-being basics such as exercise and sleep.

She mentioned that her work-life balance was affected. Online quizzes and meetings weren’t a good replacement and she seemed less able to disconnect from work. Casual interactions at work may be welcome interruptions that help us to momentarily disconnect from work and maintain a balance. More positively, Susan did suggest that she enjoyed not commuting!

For other people, another factor here may be working from home with partners and children. Managing both family and caregiving relationships, and even homeschooling, while trying to adjust to new working patterns is a lot to take on.

Another issue not bothering Susan was autonomy or control over her role, which we know can have a big impact on workplace well-being. She may feel in control of her role as she is senior, or because her role hasn’t been affected.

However, she did reference things affecting others, such as not being able to work, or redundancy.

Pause for thought

Take a minute to think about whether you have been affected by similar things. How about your loved ones or colleagues?

In this next video Dr. Robyn Vesey, Organisational Consultant at the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust talks about some of the issues highlighted by Susan.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Download Transcript of Robin Vasey 1 (right click or tap/hold and open in new tab)

From Susan’s experience and Robyn’s expertise we can highlight some key considerations:

  • Everyone can be affected differently – did you notice that Robyn suggested something that Susan dismissed as unhelpful? Virtual coffee rooms, quizzes, and connecting with colleagues. This reminds us that different people in different circumstances find different things helpful.

  • Well-being can be affected by both practical and psychological factors – while structure, routines, exercise, and sleep can feel very practical, these are complemented by psychological factors such as adapting to change, motivation, and interpersonal dynamics.

For example, why does seeing people in person feel different from seeing people online?

  • Well-being at work isn’t just dependent on an individual’s actions – all our lives and well-being are affected by work, our team, and wider organisation. More on this in subsequent steps!

The next step focuses more on a particular interpersonal dynamic. Before you move on, please share your experiences of challenges (and positives!) at work during COVID-19.

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This article is from the free online course:

COVID-19: Psychological Impact, Wellbeing and Mental Health

Maudsley Learning