Reimagined space transforms into a Wellness Room for County 911 Dispatchers

County 9-1-1 Dispatchers within the Police Division usually experience overwhelming volumes of emotionally charged 911 calls from citizens needing help quickly. In addition, they often give essential first aid assistance over the phone while communicating with first responders who are on the way to the emergency. Even with the best training on controlling emotions when taking a call, this is psychologically draining for Emergency Dispatchers. After a traumatic incident, it is necessary to decompress for a few moments in healthy ways before getting back on the phone lines to do it all over again.

To aid in this and their employee wellness, the Police Division, the Human Resources Department’s Division of Fitness & Wellness (F&W), and the Emergency Management & Workplace Safety (EMWS) Office worked together to create a beneficial solution. The 9-1-1 Dispatchers now have a Wellness Room, or quiet room, to decompress and talk about a stressful call. Furthermore, F&W will continue to collaborate with the Police Division to provide workouts, mobility flows, and yoga stretches for the officers.

 

Many hands came together to make this space a reality. A very special THANK YOU goes out to the Police Divsion, especially the Radio Shop, Officer Milleker, Officer Lehatto, Lieutenant Burroughs, Emergency Management & Workplace Safety Office, Joey Pacelli with F&W, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

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Job Burnout: what is it and how the Employee Assistance Program can help

The COVID-19 pandemic has created stress in workplaces. Many workers made significant adjustments to their normal routines. Some worked from home, some were forced to juggle children participating in virtual learning while trying to complete their work, and others were faced with the reality of day-to-day interactions with the public and the increased risk of catching COVID-19. For many people, the stress has accumulated as the pandemic has lingered. A recent research article noted, “COVID-19 has contributed to greater risk of employees encountering job burnout—a chronic stress syndrome, including permanent feelings of exhaustion and a distant attitude toward work”.

The consequences of job burnout can be serious and are compounded by the sense of isolation many people have experienced during the pandemic. Employees may experience decreased job satisfaction, increased irritability and depression, and increased use of alcohol or other substances. In response to job burnout, some workers experience increased physical ailments like headaches, fatigue, and gastrointestinal ailments.

The first step in addressing job burnout is realizing that you are experiencing it. Many workers simply press on with their job paying little attention to their physical and mental health. The Mayo Clinic suggests some questions to ask yourself:

  • Have you become more critical or cynical at work?
  • Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
  • Have you been irritable or impatient with co-workers or customers?

It may be beneficial to check with co-workers or family members and see if they notice changes in your behavior or attitude, too.

When people are experiencing burnout, there are some effective strategies to help manage it. For most individuals, regular exercise, healthy eating and planned opportunities to relax can alleviate the situation. Other people may experience more serious symptoms of depression and may benefit from professional help through a therapist or an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

The Employee Assistance Program also offers free articles, courses, and other resources to help improve your mental and physical health. If you think you are experiencing burnout or simply added stress, please visit the Employee Assistance Program page on the Employee Portal to see what options are available to you and how EAP may help.

Some additional resources include:

Seven Powerful Ways to Beat Burnout (https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2016/11/08/7-powerful-ways-to-beat-burnout/?sh=710f558761e6)

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