Anita, your front desk receptionist, has returned to the office after weeks of reduced hours and working from home. To her manager’s surprise, she no longer exhibits her customary drive. She seems disengaged with her work and uninterested in patients.
Robert, your marketing manager, continues to work from home since his duties do not require an on-site presence. His supervisor can’t help but notice a decline in motivation. The one-time dynamo no longer bubbles with creative ideas that help drive the practice’s marketing efforts.
Your practice’s success as a going concern depends on your ability to light fires under employees like Anita and Robert who seems to have exhausted their inner resources. On the following pages, we’ll look at why so many workers feel a slump in enthusiasm and how you can help them find new motivation amidst the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic.
“Employees everywhere are feeling a high level of anxiety because of the COVID-19 outbreak,” says Jack Altschuler, president of Fully Alive Leadership in Northbrook, Illinois. “Anxiety makes people see everything in the light of their fear.” And fearful people perform poorly. The energy that would normally go to their work goes instead toward worrying about the health and financial survival of their families and themselves.
“Employees are concerned about many unknowns caused by the virus,” says Karlyn Borysenko, PhD, principal at Zen Workplace, a consulting firm outside of Boston. “They are asking questions such as, ‘Is my job safe?’ ‘Will the business survive?’ ‘How will the pandemic affect the economy?’ ‘Can I believe what the bosses are saying?’ These questions and others reflect a good deal of uncertainty, and uncertainty is always a challenge to motivation.”
Phillip Perry is a freelance writer based in New York City.