Performance Anxiety and the ICI Industry
I was speaking to Tracey Mooradian, Health & Safety Manager at Eastern Construction recently.
She communicated that in the industry, “Some employees who are working remotely are experiencing apprehension and anxiety for a couple reasons. Firstly, “performance anxiety” … out of sight, out of mind… employees are not certain how managers and employers are gauging their work performance. Many workers frankly are not feeling like they are at their peak performance in their temporary work from home settings. Secondly, the realization that, as a return to in person work becomes more imminent, they will need to adjust their temporary lifestyles and work-life balance.”
It is important for everyone to realise that we all have been through, and still haven’t quite reached the end of, a most unusual time.
People required to work remotely (myself included) had to adjust to significant lifestyle changes. One of these likely included different sleep schedules because commuting was unnecessary. I know my personal commute was about 12 feet from bedroom to computer. I grew to like remote work because of this change but now comes a time of adjustment when I must go “back to normal.” Personally, that means about an hour less sleep per day.
Anyone who has less sleep is likely going to have more difficulty with all tasks until they have adjusted to their new schedule.
The lack of commuting translated into another significant benefit. Many jobsites and offices are located in the busiest areas of the province. This increases stress and frustration for people as traffic is getting back up to pre-pandemic levels.
One thing that helps me sometimes when stuck on the 401 is to realise it is the busiest highway in North America and one of the world’s busiest highways. It’s busier than the Santa Monica Freeway in LA and Interstate 75 in Atlanta. On average, between Weston Road and Highway 400, close to 420,000 vehicles pass daily.
I believe the most significant factor affecting people now is the increased human contact and interaction. All of us have grown accustomed to only seeing those who live in the same household with few exceptions. Now remote workers will have an expanded social circle that includes co-workers.
We are all a bit “rusty” if you will, when it comes to interacting directly with co-workers.
Even fully vaccinated employees may be nervous about the increase in direct interaction.
Worry about any or all of these factors can present as anxiety and stress.
One of the best things companies can do to help remote workers psychologically is to schedule time for people to literally practice interacting again. Employers could call it “coffee break time” where people can casually socialise at their comfort level.
Openly acknowledging what employees have achieved via online work over the past year can reduce an employee’s performance anxiety and stress.
Sending out a company-wide memo acknowledging the difficulty of this coming adjustment period would also be helpful.
I’d like to thank and acknowledge Tracey Mooradian for giving me the idea for this article. Her keen observation and insight into the industry are greatly appreciated.
If you have questions, need training or literature please contact Julian directly:
By: Julian Toy H.S.C. Substance Abuse Professional
Member of The Ontario Association of Mental Health ProfessionalsDirect Line: 905-866-7301
Services: Fit for Duty/Drug and Alcohol policy development, Fit for Duty/Drug and Alcohol training, Employee Substance Abuse Assessments.
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