The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is being felt across every part of our lives. Physical health, emotional well-being, economic security, social connections, and spiritual life are all affected by this crisis. The Wendt Center has identified key considerations and actions to be taken by employers and their employees. Additionally, the Wendt Center can support your company and employees through staff support sessions and training to increase staff resilience and productivity.
As a community, we are grieving life as we knew it, as well as the loss of stability, predictability, and routines. The uncertainty of these times has been compounded by the need for physical distancing, which means we can no longer easily turn to our community of care to access support.
What Do Employers Need to Know About the Impact of COVID-19 on Their Staff?
As employers seek to maintain full business operations while adjusting work schedules and environments, they have quickly realized it is not
business as usual. Employees and supervisors may be experiencing increased anxiety and difficulties in productivity as we grieve the loss of life as we knew it. Self-care and resiliency practices can reduce absenteeism and turnover as well as maintain or improve productivity.
We are in uncharted territory
There is no policy manual for managing this pandemic. This will require constant evaluation and readjustment on the part of staff and employers. What is working well one week may not work well the next week; flexible adaptation is key.
Employees are adapting to new work environments
Regardless of previous teleworking policies, the current teleworking experience has changed for many. Gone is the private room with uninterrupted time. Essential employees are working new shifts with physical distancing requirements while their families are at home. Everyone needs to balance the demands of family, households, and employers, and they will need support and understanding to do so.
This is a grief experience
Losses are vast: schedules, routines, connections with colleagues, vacations, freedom to go where we want when we want, graduations, visits with older family members; the list seems endless. Grief symptoms can manifest in a variety of ways: anxiety, sleep disruptions, difficulty with concentrating, plus impacted memory and recall to name a few.
People will have different coping techniques
Each person is going to respond to this crisis in a different way. When times get challenging, we tend to fall back on the coping techniques that we know regardless of how healthy, or unhealthy, they may be.
What Can Employers Do To Support Their Staff?
A new situation requires a readjustment of expectations across the board. Are the expectations realistic? Are all managers aware of the need to adjust expectations and empowered to do so?
Check In and Connect
Human connection is vital during this time. Ask employees how they are doing and stop to listen. You don’t have to solve the problem, but you can offer a space to connect and validate. Emotional connection fuels productivity.
Understand that the working environment is new. There will be distractions at home that may be heard or experienced during a call. Essential employees are working with physical distancing requirements while knowing their families are at home. Everyone is working with new demands and trying their best. Name this for staff, inform them that it is okay, and then act accordingly.
Offer Positive Feedback
Notice what is working and offer positive feedback more frequently than normal. While employees are expected to their job and deliver outcomes, acknowledging that they are doing so under extenuating circumstances is vital. Positive feedback and highlighting what went well will go a long way.
Model Self Care
Create an intentional way to ensure that you taking care of yourself so that you are fully present for your family and your staff. During check-ins, ask employees about self-care and share coping techniques. As a team, create a self-care plan and hold each other accountable.
There are experts in grief and trauma just as there are experts in other areas such as efficient teleworking and IT capabilities. Bear in mine that supporting your team’s emotional and social needs will pay dividends both short and long-term.
The Wendt Center is here to help:
For 45 years the Wendt Center has supported individuals and groups navigating the difficult paths of grief and trauma. We lean in during challenging times, providing support and expertise to help alleviate suffering. We have trained thousands of mental health professionals and provided crisis response services to dozens of organizations in crises from the Navy Yard shooting to neighborhood violence to the death of a colleague. We are here to help you care for your employees, strengthen your teams’ focus and productivity, and reduce trauma-related absenteeism and turnover. Supporting your people now will pay dividends today and in the future. The Wendt Center can support your organization on multiple topics:
Grief and Trauma in the Time of COVID
Build the knowledge and tools to navigate grief and trauma responses
for yourself and others.
Understand vicarious trauma and its warning signs and learn tools to assess impacts and techniques to increase compassion and build resilience that can be immediately incorporated into practice to benefit you and those around you.
Supporting Students and School Staff Through Crisis
Strengthen your key professionals’ capacity to support everyone in your school environment through this crisis while building long-term expertise.
Training Options Include:
|1 Hour Webinar||Teams, leaders, managers, even all staff groups|
|3-4 Hour Workshop||Leaders, managers, mental health professionals, Human Resources professionals, EAP employees|
|Individual or Group Support Sessions||Any individual or team experiencing emotional distress, anxiety, and grief related to COVID-19|
For more information and pricing, contact firstname.lastname@example.org