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Guest viewpoint: General Election burnout

Why politics is making us anxious and exhausted - and how businesses can help employees

Once again, the UK is getting ready to vote in a general election. Whatever your political leanings, you can’t help but notice something. People are getting tired of this.

Voter fatigue is a genuine phenomenon. When a group of people is asked repeatedly to vote, it can cause a certain amount of disengagement.

So, as we head into our third general election in four years – with the spectre of 2016’s EU referendum over our shoulders – it’s not surprising to learn that a lot of people are suffering burnout and anxiety from the whole process. It’s a little fraught, and possibly quite tense, so how can you support the people in your organisation?

Support and allow time
Don’t tell your staff how to vote – don’t tell them that they have to vote – but be open and empathetic to the worries and fears they might be feeling. One way to combat voter apathy is to allow time off to cast a vote – as voting in the UK falls on a work day, it can be inconvenient for a lot of people who have busy mornings and evenings, for example with the school run. Giving these people an hour in the afternoon to get out and exercise their democratic rights could relieve a lot of pressure.

Encourage friendly discussion
This can be difficult, so use your discretion. But if you’re confident in the relationships between your staff, allowing and encouraging chat about the issues we all face going into this election can be a big stress reliever – just make sure that it doesn’t get out of hand! A healthy respect of each other’s opinions is the cornerstone of a good relationship, especially a working one.

Suggest counselling
With all the uncertainty in the press, it’s natural that people will feel nervous and anxious. As election season hots up, and manifestos land in people’s letterboxes, it can feel like doom and gloom—especially as this is a winter election, with the nights drawing in.

If you have an employee assistance programme in place, this is the perfect time to direct people to it. While the service won’t be able to tell people how to vote, the counsellors on the other end of the line will be able to offer solid, actionable advice on coping with the pressures and alleviating anxiety.

Keep it up
The pressures don’t end after election night. Whatever happens in December, whoever wins, we may be in for turbulent times ahead. Just be sure to offer all the advice above, and keep it up as we head into what will hopefully be a bright new year.

Those with good political memories might remember the 2012 slogan “We’re all in this together”. It’s still true today.

David Price is CEO of Health Assured