8 Ways You Can Help Employees Feeling Overwhelmed Working From Home & Be A Great Manager

Feeling overwhelmed in a virtual workplace hits a whole new level during the pandemic.

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Almost everyone has been working from home in the last several months. Even so, everyone has been feeling overwhelmed by everything going on.

Managers are concerned as they try to figure out how to reduce virtual workplace overwhelm.

There are compounding stressors to contend with.

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Workplaces were stressful, even before the onset of the pandemic.

According to the American Institute of Stress, 80 percent of U.S. workers experienced stress on the job, and 26 percent reported that they were often or very often burned out or stressed out.

Flash-forward to today.

Those same employees now face new, significant health, domestic, and financial stressors, as well as coping with isolation. In addition, they have limited options to address these issues.

Consider as well that extreme uncertainty and insecurity will continue into the foreseeable future.

The signs of stress and feeling overwhelmed.

Not all managers and employees recognize the signs of stress, feeling overwhelmed, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Plus, some people hide or deny their experience because of embarrassment or fear of stigmatization and even discrimination.

Stable and certain environments are less likely to invoke a stress response. Connection and validation encourage a person to rebalance.

Implementation of the options that follow will encourage both.

These options give employees a greater sense of control over their circumstances, as well as self-care practices to moderate their reactions to stressors.

Management's offer of assistance enhances employees' sense of connection and commitment to their employers and restore a healthier, more balanced state.

Here are 8 ways to help employees who are feeling overwhelmed while working from home.

1. Offer a virtual workshop.

Talk about the emotional, mental, and physical signs and symptoms of stress, overwhelm, and PTSD.


Help employees identify if and where they are on this spectrum, and teach effective self-care practices to mitigate both causes and symptoms.

2. Recommend that managers establish regular check-in meetings with their staff.

Let them gauge how well the employees are coping and determine if there's a need for assistance.

Review and reassess work priorities and discuss public health and economic updates. Don't avoid mentioning the worst-case scenarios.

3. Build up employees' morale.

Make a greater effort to recognize and call-out employee successes.

4. Improve communication.

Maintain open and transparent communication about plans and challenges the company or organization is facing.


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5. Create an internal online resource site.

Post updates as well as health and financial benefit reminders, hotline numbers, and referrals for various forms of assistance.

Survey employees to determine other helpful topics.

6. Take actions to minimize change.

For example, avoid short notices or shifting meeting schedules.

Set and respect reasonable work hours, and allow for sufficient personal time without interruptions.

7. Allow employees to institute some personal flexibility in the workweek.

Evolving circumstances may require adopting a modified work schedule temporarily or for the long-term.


8. Start an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Program content can be tailored to specific workplace needs.

Through EAPs, employees gain access to additional resources to better address health, financial, and personal issues at work and at home.

For many employees, virtual workplace stress is more intense and difficult to manage than pre-pandemic office stress.

Adopting one or more of these suggestions will help to limit change and instability, provide additional staff benefits and resources, as well as validate the complex reality employees need to manage in their virtual workplaces.

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Patricia Bonnard, PhD, ACC is a certified International Coaching Federation (ICF) leadership coach and a certified Martha Beck life coach. For more information, visit her website.