Reducing the Pressure and Stress

December 18, 2020

Dear Staff and Faculty,

As we approach the end of a successful but challenging term, I am mindful of the stress many are experiencing. The COVID-related online environment in which many of us work adds intensity, stress, and social isolation. In addition, caregivers have the particularly difficult task of juggling their Evergreen jobs with supporting children, elderly relatives and friends, or others in need. Home confinement has cut off those living alone from important on-campus networks of social supports. And the holidays bring their own version of stressful obligations.

Here are some suggestions in the next few weeks intended to help reduce some of the pressure and stress many are feeling:

  • I encourage all of us to use the period from Dec 21, 2020 to January 4, 2021 to take some down time – cancel some standing meetings, take leave if at all possible.
  • Be mindful of how your work affects others. Ask co-workers and colleagues if changes in how you work will help make their tasks easier.
  • Discuss with colleagues whether changes in how they seek work from you or your areas can reduce bottlenecks or pressure points in workflow that contribute stress and pressure to your tasks. 
  • Be mindful of the needs of your colleagues for connection. If you’re inclined, reach out to those who may be alone during this period.
  • Supervisors, please remind staff to not work during furlough hours. Help them manage their work in ways that reduce the likelihood that furlough hours do not create more work in subsequent weeks.
  • Assess your unit’s furlough strategy at this half-way point in the year to see if any adjustments are needed, either for services you are providing or for the benefit of simplifying the workloads and responsibilities of your staff. 
  • Consider strategies such as holding no meetings, no emailing on furlough days, prioritizing work for the area, and identify work that they can set aside, delay or stop.

With the advent of vaccines, we can anticipate an end to the COVID-19 crucible and much of the stress we feel. By taking care of ourselves and supporting one another now, the weeks ahead will be just a little easier for all.

Be well.