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How To Combat COVID-Related Decision Fatigue

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It has been over a year since the world got plunged head-first into a global pandemic. The result of which was ‘normal life’ being altered so drastically that many companies are still reeling from the aftershock.

The now cliché, that we are ‘living through unprecedented times’, began as an honest and shocked observation, but has now turned into a dreary and exhausting reality for most of us.

One of the difficult side effects of this has been an increase in decision fatigue

“Companies have had to tackle so many challenges and contend with so much uncertainty, that it’s understandable when decision fatigue sets in,” said Oz Desai, General Manager Corporate Traveller.

“The impact of COVID on our lives, and our businesses, has caused us to constantly assess risks and obsess over even the smallest decisions. This has gone on for so long that many of us are actually paralysed and can’t make decisions anymore,” he added.

Jodi Hume, a Personal Strategist and Facilitator for business leaders in the US, Europe and Australia, explains that decision fatigue prevents people from making quick, precise decisions as they feel that they can’t make a decision that is consequential. “At the moment, they attribute this to not having enough information to know what is going to happen a month or two down the line. However, this is inaccurate.”

According to Hume, decision fatigue actually sets in when someone is asking too much from themselves, without taking enough care of their neurology. “There is a set amount of energy that gets allocated to decision making each day and if you use this up on unnecessary issues that someone else could be handling, it will be gone when you need it for the important decisions.”

She emphasised that it has always taken a village to raise a business to new heights, and during the pandemic this has become more relevant than ever before. “The best way to combat decision fatigue is by reducing your decision load and removing drains on your neurological energy reserves so that you can focus on the decisions that matter.”

Desai added that an effective way to do this is to delegate tasks that aren’t one’s main focus to experts that can be relied on. “These experts will be hired to execute these tasks with a business’s best interests in mind and deliver better results than the company could on their own.”

This is particularly true when it comes to your business travel

Business leaders are undergoing enough challenges in their own industries without also having to try and tackle the challenges of a different industry. Business travel during Covid has become increasingly complex.

“Several international airlines have temporarily pulled out of SA, and local airlines have increased their fares as limited schedules and changing curfews rapidly reduce supply. Airlines are also prone to last minute flight changes, with varying methods for addressing the fallout,” said Desai.

“Duty of care now includes ensuring that employees are booked into COVID-conscious accommodation; deciding whether or not to pay for the seat next to an employee on their flight to lower their risk of contraction; and securing a travel insurance plan that covers the cost of quarantine should an employee contract Covid on a work trip.”

Trying to take these variables into consideration has also upended yearly budgeting strategies, making it increasingly difficult to formulate and stick to an effective travel budget.

“Business leaders need their all their mental resources to make the tough decisions required to optimise business performance during these trying times. They don’t need to be spending time also trying to attend to the ever-changing details of business travel during the pandemic,” notes Desai.

Partnering with an experienced TMC can alleviate a lot of this pressure.

“The right TMC will understand a business’s new budgeting requirements and work with them on an individual level to get the best possible results for their business,” said Desai, adding that an experienced TMC will be also able to navigate the challenges of a hyper dynamic flight schedule, avoiding unnecessary loss of employee productivity.

TMCs also monitor duty of care on behalf of a company, are able to advise businesses regarding interim travel insurance policies and ensure the most cost-to-risk-effective ancillary purchases based on their specific business requirements.

“When you work with a reputable TMC,” says Desai, “Businesses are usually assigned a dedicated travel consultant, who will be with their travellers every step of the way. This means making decisions around if and when it is safe to travel to a particular destination; the best routes to book; the best fares to book; as well as ensuring that travellers have all the information they need for a successful journey.”

Hume believes that it is important to reach out and ask for help when we need it. “We need to recognise that there is nothing to feel guilty about. The first step to getting back on track is giving ourselves the support we need. This is how we share the load – and find the best solutions to challenges faced. Find the right partners and use their expertise to your advantage.”

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