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Dealing with Emotional Impact of COVID-19 on Drivers

The rise of COVID-19 and the consequent measures taken to stop the spread have resulted in completely different working conditions for Nigeria and rest of the world. This massive change in social and working conditions has resulted in isolation, difficulty in remaining positive and even impacted psychological well-being.

This condition can be most difficult to manage amongst fleet drivers. Drivers are not typically based behind a computer so if they work less hours, only a small portion of time can be spent completing admin and the rest of the time, the driver must remain constructive during these difficult times by themselves.

 According to an Industrial Psychologist, Helena Nel, from Imaginate People Advisory, employers should be mindful of the emotional cycle experienced with change.

“Employees are likely still coming to terms with COVID-19 and their current situation as the new normal. Consequently, a safe place for workforces to express their feelings is needed,” Nel advised. “This safe place can help employees through this time but be aware that not all employees have the resources and accessibility needed for this. Never allow employees to feel like they have been thrown to the curb, rather create a platform everyone can access.”

“Extra time should also be managed constructively. Employers can update and diversify employees’ skills in a cost-effective way that is relevant in the digital economy. Time is another resource that is more abundant now. Use it to complete tasks that there wasn’t time for previously.

“Employers and managers need to be cognizant of those struggling more than others. All employees face different challenges and not everyone has access to support resources and structures.

“A supportive human connection and relationship based on trust with an organizational leader is important. Build this relationship by asking about home lives and making a safe place to answer freely.

“Ultimately, all organizations need to adapt to the new stress dynamic, beginning with changing something small like the tone of emails or frequently checking. For cases beyond the ability of management to deal with, consider getting help from psychologists or coaches to ensure they safely cope with the change. If your company cannot afford counselling there are non-profit organisations or group options available.

“The loss of an old way of life is similar to the grieving process. “For many, when they leave home to come to work, they are leaving a place of stress and work needs to be a supportive environment. Make it clear that it is okay to not be 100% and all they need to do is ask for help.”

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