Pandemic fatigue is real. It is plaguing society, organizations and individuals. The unexpected duration of the pandemic has layered the consequences of global health and economic crises and widespread social unrest.
The fundamental reshaping of societies—technological innovation, business model disruption, societal inequality and workforce automation has caused the epidemic of stress and fatigue to a tipping point. Grit and perseverance are no longer enough.
When you ask people how they are, they may say they are fine but then follow with “I am not sure how much longer I can do this”, “I am completely burned out”, “I have lost my sense of optimism”. Surveys done by several global think tanks confirmed that Pandemic Fatigue is now a global problem. From the US to the Asia-Pacific region to European nations, the number of those who rate their mental health as “very poor” is more than three times higher than before the crisis. Mental health issues are on the rise.
This is about more than coping. This is about systemic reform. It is about not going back but, as Albert Einstein once said, “In every crisis lies an opportunity.” There is no going back. There is only going forward. But as in the crisis of 1917,and as a result of global wars that followed, there are permanent shifts is everything. Organizations, business models, and their way of work will not be the same. Consumers preferences and family lifestyles, social service provision have all been transformed. Inequalities have been exposed.
The Pandemic has accelerated the migration to digital technologies and shifting the performance of companies. Companies have had to introduce new, more human-centered principles and recognize people at the heart of organizational success. Innovation is now at the heart of business success planning so that they can emerge stronger. Government policies are now in check. Insightful governments have begun to change their economic models, labor laws and social provision models to support the new labor force and to mitigate the devastating effects of the prolongation of the crisis.
Th initial adrenaline rush of a pandemic “sprint” is gone, and there is a realization that we need the perseverance of a marathon runner. Different strategies are needed. Now that we realize that we are in a prolonged, massive, traumatic disruption, we must find the strength and strategies of the long-distance runner to navigate through the disillusionment and come out successfully in the fastest time.
Beyond grit and perseverance, there must be strong leadership across all stakeholder groups. Those who will lead are those who develop adaptability and resilience skills at scale.
Those the following: 1. Display inspiration, hope, and optimism that’s tempered by reality,2. The leaders must show compassion, integrity and authenticity and offer a realistic framework for the labor force, 3. Successfully communicate that if we work together, it will be better than before.
Grit and Perseverance are not enough. The marathon is on. We must have the mindset of the marathon runner. Strong core, abundance mindset, stay the course, steady pace. For countries, organizations, companies, families, individuals to come out of this fatigue, a message of common purpose that helps make sense of the new reality and helps to establish a sense of stability, reigniting individual motivation, well-being and productivity in the workforce is key.
There must be a learning mindset. Upskilling of mindset, of adaptability, of resilience to improve the sense of well-being. Research indicates that organizations (public and private) that invest in the well-being and energy of their people see four times higher profit, and more than 20 percent gains in productivity and innovation. They are also better prepared to handle shocks such as COIVD19 or other disruptions with greater speed and resilience in the future.