Dr. Geoffrey Soloway is founder and chief training director of MindWell-U
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization for the first time classified workplace burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” in the International Classification of Diseases.
Defined as a “prolonged response to chronic interpersonal stressors within the workplace,” burnout is a common problem that affects workers across all industries. Characterized by emotional exhaustion, feelings of depersonalization/disconnection, and negative evaluations of oneself, burnout can wreak havoc on employees, as well as have a negative effect on a company’s overall health and productivity.
Moreover, it is also damaging to the economy. Studies have shown that 500,000 Canadians miss work every week due to mental health and stress-related illness, which costs the economy $50-billion a year, when absenteeism and presenteeism are factored in. Obviously, employee burnout is bad news for business, and managers should be aware of its negative consequences.
So how can a good manager prevent employee burnout?
- Check yourself. As flight attendants recommend that you put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others in the case of an emergency, managers should consider their own state of mind at work. By working on personal resilience, emotional regulation skills and self-awareness, a compassionate and mindful manager who has the ability to self-regulate will be more likely to support others effectively.
- Recognize the signs of burnout. For example, if your employee complains of exhaustion, pay attention. Are they consistently working overtime? Constant fatigue can have major consequences in the workplace. From mere sleepiness to forgetfulness, employees and their work can suffer if stress-related sleep deprivation sets in.
- Improve communication. Meet with employees regularly to discuss work-related issues, but also to chat about what’s going on in their lives outside of work. An ongoing, informal dialogue can build trust and confidence between a manager and an employee, and it allows the manager the space to check-in with the employee if they notice any unusual behaviour. If an employee is struggling, they will be much more likely to share their feelings with an attentive (and non- judgmental) manager who encourages open conversation.
- Encourage mindful check-ins. Start meetings with a moment for everyone to notice how they’re feeling and share one word to capture their state of mind; develop a team cue or catchphrase to help bring people back into the present moment when stress hits.
- Encourage and support monotasking versus multitasking. Encourage employees to “go deep” when needed, and abide by boundaries set during these periods. For example, if your employee needs an hour on Mondays to do some distraction-free, heads-down writing, respect that time and refrain from booking meetings during the allotted hour.
- Walk the walk when it comes to work-life balance and mental health. While at an organizational level, many companies boast of a strong emphasis on work-life balance, it’s often mere lip service when it comes to actually implementing policies that will help employees from burning out at work. Employers who don’t deliver when it comes to work-life balance and mental health initiatives will suffer in terms of employee retention. Especially as millennials flood the workforce, potential employees are looking at the mental health and wellness benefits offered by an organization before they sign up to work there. A good manager will enforce policies to encourage a healthy work-life balance, such as giving employees the option to work from home occasionally, and insisting that vacation time be used. When it comes to mental health, managers should promote healthy routines in the workplace, such as taking breaks for exercise and practising mindfulness. A recent study between Mindwell, the University of British Columbia and the University of Queensland showed a significant decrease in employee burnout and a significant increase of work engagement amongst staff at a Canadian health authority which participated in a mindfulness challenge.
Happily, in the past few years, we’ve seen a decline in stigma surrounding mental health, and an increasing number of organizations offering mental wellness programs. It seems to be paying off. A recent analysis by Deloitte Insights found a median return on investment of $1.62 for every $1 spent a company spends on investing in workplace mental health, with an ROI of $2.18 for programs that had been launched at least three years ago. Clearly, caring about your employees’ mental health is good for your company’s bottom line.
Keep that in mind when battling burnout in the workplace.
This column is part of Globe Careers’ Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab.
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N.S. reports no new COVID-19 cases, gathering limit increased to 10 – CBC.ca
With no new case of COVID-19 being reported for the first time since March 15 in Nova Scotia, the province is increasing the number of people allowed to gather from five to 10.
“Today we come before you with good news. No new cases to report. Zero. That’s exciting,” Premier Stephen McNeil said at a press briefing on Friday.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health said zero cases is a “significant and encouraging milestone.”
The new gathering limit is effective immediately, but physical distancing — except among members of a household or family bubbles — is still required.
The limit is the same indoors and outdoors, with an exception for outdoor weddings and funeral services, which can have 15 people.
“I hate to be a damper on these joyous events, but at this time we need to make sure that the numbers are limited so the officiant is the only extra person and if you want a photographer or a DJ or something like that, they would be included in your number of 10 indoors and 15 outdoors,” Strang said.
The 10-person limit applies to:
- Social gatherings.
- Arts and culture activities like theatre performances and dance recitals.
- Faith gatherings.
- Sports and physical activities.
Strang said for faith gatherings, safety precautions are required. He said passing around a collection plate is not allowed. Strang said singing is highly discouraged because “people singing can significantly increase the spreading of respiratory droplets, [which] increases the risk of transmitting the virus that causes COVID-19.”
It also applies to businesses that are too small to ensure physical distancing.
Reopening timelines announced for campgrounds
The province also announced timelines for the reopening of more businesses:
- Starting June 5, private campgrounds can open for all types of campers. But they can only operate at 50 per cent capacity and must ensure public health protocols are followed.
- Provincial campgrounds will open to all Nova Scotians June 15, with the reservation line opening June 8. Those campgrounds will operate at a reduced capacity.
- Pools can begin maintenance work to prepare for reopening, likely in time for summer.
- Sleepover camps are not permitted this year.
Two things not changing are the requirement of self-isolating for 14 days when people visit Nova Scotia, and the household bubble is not expanding.
“I know some of this is confusing. People say, ‘I can go to a restaurant and there will be 10, 20, 30 people in that restaurant as long as the tables are kept apart.’ That seems to be OK, but they can’t go hug their grandparents or they can’t go practise with their soccer team,” Strang said.
“It’s important that people understand we recognize those, but this is about taking measured steps so we can reopen the economy, loosen restrictions in a carefully, measured way.”
In a news release Friday, the province said the microbiology lab at the QEII Health Sciences Centre completed 1,034 tests on Thursday.
Why daycares are reopening later
McNeil addressed why daycares aren’t reopening at the same time as many other businesses on June 5.
He said he wanted daycares to reopen at the same time as everything else, but public health made a recommendation against it, so the date was moved from June 8 to 15.
“When public health comes to me and says the plan is not ready and they need another week, why would I go against that? That is about the safety of our children,” McNeil said.
He said “too many provinces” reopened daycares too soon and “look what’s happened in those provinces.”
“Some of you are saying, ‘Why didn’t you change the date of the economy?’ Because people have to get back to work to pay the bills and take care of their families,” he said.
McNeil acknowledged the 10-day difference “will be long for people going back to work right away and [who] need child care.”
Respect employees having child-care issues
McNeil asked businesses to “please respect” employees who have “issues with child care” over that 10-day period.
“We need to take care of each other, we need to be kind to each other, we need to support each other as our province tries to come back from COVID-19,” he said.
McNeil closed the briefing by addressing people who are asking about expanding their household bubble and “get the long-awaited hug.”
“A hug is a beautiful and dangerous thing,” McNeil said. “Close contact means so much to us, but it is the very thing that could set our province back.”
McNeil said people can “hang out” now and grandparents can “watch your grandchildren play.” But to protect everybody, he said hugs, kisses and handshakes are off limits.
“Stay six feet apart a little longer,” he said. “If we continue to flatten the curve, we’ll be able to lift up your spirits by taking down more restrictions.”
There remain 18 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, 14 of which are residents and staff at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax. There are eight people in hospital, including three people who are in the intensive care unit.
Northwood remains the only long-term care facility in the province with active cases.
In an interview Friday, Northwood CEO Janet Simm said it was the first day “in a number of weeks” the facility had no new cases to report.
“So we’re celebrating that within the facility,” she said.
Fifty-nine people in Nova Scotia have died from the virus, 52 of those at Northwood.
Simm said 179 residents in Northwood had recovered as of Friday.
The state of emergency declared under the Emergency Management Act on March 22 has been extended to June 14.
Updated symptoms list
The list of COVID-19 symptoms recently expanded. People with one or more of the following updated list of symptoms are asked to visit 811’s website:
- Fever (chills, sweats).
- Cough or worsening of a previous cough.
- Sore throat.
- Shortness of breath.
- Muscle aches.
- Nasal congestion/runny nose.
- Hoarse voice.
- Unusual fatigue.
- Loss of sense of smell or taste.
- Red, purple or bluish lesions on the feet, toes or fingers that do not have a clear cause.
Testing underway after 8 migrant workers at Elgin County farm test positive for coronavirus – Global News
Officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) and Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) say coronavirus testing is underway at a St. Thomas-area farm after at least eight temporary foreign workers tested positive for the virus this week.
An outbreak was declared on Thursday at Ontario Plants Propagation, a greenhouse operation along John Wise Line, days after the MLHU said it first became aware of a case Monday night involving a worker at the farm, health officials said on Friday.
That initial case led to 16 of the worker’s close contacts being tested on Tuesday, with seven of the tests coming back positive. As those workers live in London, the seven are included in the tally of new cases that was reported on Friday by MLHU.
According to the health unit, another 40 workers living at the same complex as the first case were tested on Wednesday at London’s Carling Heights Assessment Centre.
The remaining workers in the group, meanwhile, were to be tested on Friday at Ontario Plants Propagation. Test results for all were expected over the coming days.
“The operator of this farm has been tremendously co-operative with us, and we believe that this outbreak is now contained,” said Dr. Alex Summers, associate medical officer of health with the MLHU, during Friday’s coronavirus media briefing.
“Of course, we will be monitoring that very closely over the next couple of weeks.”
Coronavirus outbreak: How the pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities in the food supply chain
Summers said the workers had arrived primarily from Guatemala and Jamaica, and that as far as the health unit was aware, all had quarantined for 14 days upon arriving in Ontario.
The workers are currently in self-isolation, and none have been admitted to hospital.
Health officials are still working to find the source of the outbreak, but Summers said it was believed they had been in Canada long enough that they either contracted it here, or “one of the other workers may have had mild symptoms that weren’t identified and transmitted it subsequently to their colleagues.”
“We believe that we have readily identified all close contacts and any additional cases,” Summers said. “Of course, we continue to watch for further results. But those tests have been done.”
Health officials stressed there was no risk to the public from the products grown on the farm, and that they didn’t believe there had been any close exposure or close contact outside of the migrant farmworker community.
“The living conditions for these migrant farmworkers were certainly a congregate living setting, but not exceptionally crowded, nor of specific concern for us,” Summers said.
“They were people living together and that would have resulted in the transmission.”
COVID-19 cases have also been reported at other southwestern Ontario farms during the pandemic.
Fifty-one workers, local and foreign, at Greenhill Produce in Kent Bridge, Ont., tested positive for the coronavirus last month.
In Windsor-Essex, at least 16 workers from three farms in the region had tested positive for the virus as of early this month, the region’s health unit said.
In March, four workers tested positive at Highline Mushrooms in Kingsville, Ont.
Approximately 20,000 migrant workers come to the Ontario each year to work on farms and in greenhouses.
— With files from Shawn Jeffords of The Canadian Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Six people can be added to existing double bubbles, government announces – NTV News
The provincial government announced Friday that residents can expand their bubbles effective immediately.
Up to six more people can be added to an existing double bubble. The new members do not have to be from the same household, but cannot change once added. The government still advises people to keep their bubbles as small as possible.
More guidance can be found online here: https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/individuals-and-households/expansion-of-household-bubble/
Dr. Proton Rahman is scheduled to release new projections Friday on how the COVID-19 pandemic is unfolding.
Dr. Fitzgerald announced no new cases of COVID-19 on Friday.
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