Safety of your team members is not only about avoiding infections. Particularly when a crisis is long and intense, has a big impact on people’s lives and causes a lot of uncertainties, the overall mindset and wellbeing of individuals and teams becomes important too.
To mitigate the immediate impact of a crisis like Covid-19, one of the major objectives and challenges is to keep people safe.
This is one of the 3 main sections from the "Ultimate Guide for Phase 1 - Rapid Response to Mitigate the Immediate Impact of Covid"
Regarding Maintaining Mindset and Wellbeing:
Risks to address
- A downward spiral of mental health and mindset caused by fear, stress, boredom, loneliness or being overwhelmed. This can lead to lower motivation and resilience
- Social issues at home and work, which are a problem in itself, will also distract them from performing as needed
- Individuals and groups getting stuck in a defensive survival mode, in which they will not see new threats, issues and opportunities and might take the wrong actions
- Social safety at homes
- Engaged and motivated teams and individuals
- Resilient teams that keep on doing good work to survive and thrive during the crisis
- Social connections
- Flexibility (time)
- Peer support
Encourage teams and team members to intensify social connections (using online media) to feel connected with other people. Also facilitate this within your business. You typically want to stimulate your team members to:
- Stay connected
- Have regular video chats with family, friends and colleagues
- Be open about feelings
- Check in with those who are alone
Especially team members with families at home or caring tasks for others in their private life have to adjust in many ways. They will suddenly be at home 24/7 with the entire family, taking care of kids and their education, while both spouses need time and space to work. They need to be able to combine many things, often in small homes.
This will require some flexibility on when work can be done as well as mutual understanding about sub-optimal conditions, for example during a conference call with children around.
We cannot ignore the fact that many team members will have more worries and concerns now. For example:
- Financial and job security
- Older parents being ill or fighting for their lives
- Children being isolated from friends
- Children suffering from remote schooling
- Stress levels going up at home, without any short-term perspective of improvement
- Uncertainty how their social life will look like in the next 1-3 years
We should encourage and facilitate team members to take time to reflect on these concerns without letting it get too dominant on the mindset and sentiment. A good practice for everyone is to:
- Write down all worries throughout the day
- Set a specific time of the day to think about it the worries
- Decide to which extent the worries are something that can be influenced. If so, define a mitigation action
- Every day, write 3 things to be grateful for and keep a journal
Most team members are not used to working from home and to cope with work and private life being so mingled. It is so easy to lose structure and a healthy lifestyle. This can have a negative effect on the mindset of individuals and families.
To avoid this, we can encourage team members and their families to:
- Develop and stick to new routines at home
- Continue to shower and dress properly at the beginning of the day
- Have a family-plan covering meals, socialising, schoolwork etcetera
- Exercise, even if it is just an evening walk around the neighbourhood
- Consider wellbeing practices like meditation or mindfulness
There are plenty of apps to support this.
As most behavioural changes and challenges, they are not easy to start with and even more difficult to stick to. Peer dynamics and groups can make the difference.
We should encourage team members to frequently connect and cover all topics discussed in this chapter about Mindset and Wellbeing. Let them share their concerns, solutions, perspectives, practices and tips.
For individuals and teams to be resilient, it is crucial to have a shared concern, mission and vision. Having a clear view on the light at the end of the tunnel helps. Often repeat this mission, the objective and the envisioned state you are all working on. That will help everyone to stay motivated and keep having faith.
Download the full Guide for Phase 1 - Rapid Response