Why do we experience anxiety as a response to the unknown? How do your survival instincts complicate your ability to problem solve? How can we access our creativity when we need it most?
What is the solution to the human condition? There isn’t one. The human condition doesn’t change, but how you work with it can change. A talk on the psychology of coping in a crisis.
With the coronavirus comes the stress of the unknown, anxiety about very personal issues like finances, health, and family wellbeing, and a heightened need for inspired innovation. People are particularly focused on their work during this time.
Now is the time to commit to staff development. Whether personal or professional development, the tools that they learn as a result of COVID-19 will strengthen teams from here on out (or not).
Dr. Struhar has conducted international research remotely, completed an online-blended doctoral program, and currently runs a consulting business from her home office. She will provide your staff with practical tools, sophisticated psychological support, and personal successes and failures earned over years of working as a digital nomad.
Trainings for staff working remotely that address productivity from a home office, communication tips for collaborating remotely, and managing isolation and technology.
Support and strategy sessions for key staff and for staff experiencing unusual levels of stress. Sessions may include leadership coaching, conflict facilitation, and skills training.
Trainings and team coaching. Teaching your teams how to manage their anxiety is an investment in professional development that will strengthen your organization now and later.
Identify a senior level staff to act as the point person to field questions and communicate updates. This role can mitigate unnecessary confusion, gossip, and fear.
Communicate your commitment to your staff. They are likely worried about being effected on multiple levels that also impact their ability to work including: public transportation risks, childcare and long term care facilities closings, school closings. This is your opportunity to align with your staff. Communicate from the calm within the storm to ease unwarranted stress.
Protect your organization by tending to your staff. You are building your reputation now. Focus on consistency of message, transparency (especially with changes and news that might frighten people), and flexibility in hearing and developing creative solutions.
Not all of your staff are experiencing the same level of insecurity due to the threat of a pandemic. Consider how to protect all staff equally by compensating for unequal insecurity due to income, health insurance, and family circumstances inequities.
Consider increasing paid time off benefits and integrative services. The reality is that the more insecure your staff are, the more vulnerable your organization is. Staff who cannot afford to take time off, will remain at work while they are sick.
Cross-train your staff so that you have some flexibility in balancing the workload with significant absenteeism. Consider training a shadow team through a temp or contract agency, to keep your doors open. Communicate your commitment and your intention to keep the organization secure to staff during this training time. Transparency will assist with anxiety.
Resiliency is the ability of a person or system to remain whole over time, through the ups and downs of life. While some people just seem naturally more resilient, psychologists have found that resiliency is developed through specific skills that can be taught. Bringing in a qualified psychologist to address staff stress and anxiety will build resiliency. Staff can learn how to bounce back from crisis and also how to remain productive and focused over time.
Maladaptive coping strategies are evident and especially harmful during times of crisis. Stressed people tend to revert to crisis-coping behaviors like being hyper controlling, short-tempered, and defensive to the point of seeming paranoid. These are all normal human responses to stress. We are neurologically wired for survival and that can get in the way of healthy and productive collaboration. Provide your staff with information on the human condition and how to work effectively with themselves during crises and conflicts.
Effectively working with the unknowns of life is also called ambiguity tolerance. This is a characteristic found in powerful international leaders. Now is the time to invest in the development of your leaders. Leadership development will support the organization now and in the future.
During times of crisis a healthy team comes together. This time brings unique challenges for managers. Provide your managers with guidelines for establishing professional intimacy and communication that supports the good of the whole.
Teach people how to connect remotely. Relationships change when you can no longer pop into a person’s office. There are simple strategies for connecting remotely that can be shared via online trainings and team coaching sessions.
Don’t wait until there is a crisis. Act now to support your staff and the organization will benefit in productivity, a positive culture, and staff loyalty during a difficult time.
Please reach out to Dr. Struhar to discuss how she can support your organization.