Anxiety in the era of COVID-19 is as contagious as the notorious virus itself. The mood around the world can be described as an intermediate stage between disorientation and panic. How can you survive the global turbulence?
1. Gently immerse yourself in the information field
You can’t do without limiting the consumption of content. To begin with, we can agree with ourselves that we spend time strictly from 19.00 to 19.30 and period of time reading the world news. Talk to your employees that it is unacceptable to discuss “conspiracy theory” and other covid scenarios in a working chat. “Digital hygiene” is especially important during this period. Imposing fear and anxiety undermines our ability to think clearly and creatively, work with priorities and make informed choices.
2. Study the positive experience of previous crises
Of course, none of us were ready for the epidemic, but this is not the first situation that requires global rethinking. In 2008 and 2014, there was also an economic crisis. Maintaining the loyalty of our clients, we keep the level of sales.
3. Develop an individual approach to employees
Switching to remote work in a certain kind of stress for both the manager and employees who are not used to this format. We have to work together to find ways not to lose personal and team effectiveness so use productivity tracking software. Continuous communication is especially important now: you need to understand if a particular team member has enough resources, if there are any difficulties in new circumstances. In the format of remote work, it is especially important to keep track of it in a timely manner. It is also important to take into account that in the “survival” mode, for many people, discretion is replaced by spontaneous reactions. It is necessary to control this moment to avoid “dam breaks”.
4. Hold general meetings online
They are now important not only for brainstorming, but also for some “relaxing effect”. Psychologists remind that isolation increases anxiety. So, including to maintain balance, we hold regular working online sessions.
5. Talk to the team about the future
At every stage of the company’s life (and in troubled times it is especially important!) a manager must be as honest as possible in his assessment of the situation. It is important for the whole team to see that the management has a well-thought-out vector of action. At least such certainty reduces the degree of anxiety, interrupts the endless flow of thoughts about the future in the “era of pandemic” and increases the efficiency of each employee.
6. Bring the alarm to the point of absurdity
The main task of the manager in any uncertainty is to reduce it to a manageable level. Unfortunately, we cannot yet guess how many events can develop over time. And the very state of unpredictability and nebula of the future most of all causes discomfort and tension. In such a situation, psychologists recommend to play the worst possible scenario mentally, asking ourselves the question “And then what?” until the feeling of confidence and control over what is happening. In this state, it is already possible to take conscious steps forward.
7. See new opportunities
The period of turbulence is a time when people think about self-improvement. To act, instead of twisting yourself up, is a smart strategy. My quarantine plan is the minimum: to improve English and learn personal growth training. In addition, the format of remote work itself allows me to improve my digital skills, learn new technologies. Learning leadership and risk management practices in the new reality is also a challenge.
8. Fighting with little mobility
Perhaps, it is not obvious to everyone yet. But already soon many managers may face the side effect of hypodynamy both in themselves and their employees. This condition is especially dangerous for those who in “normal life” a lot and actively engaged in sports. They have already got used to the tides of euphoria after training due to hormone release. And now, they are the fastest to fall into anxiety. All of us need at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. To maintain the proper level of physical training, I can help with home simulators.
9. Postpone perfectionism
It is easier for a manager to distance himself from stress at this “unprecedented” time, if a little “let go of the reins” in relation to himself. Criticism is an excellent “fuel” for panic states. It is important to explain to yourself that there are no absolutely correct decisions in this period. The rules apply when the situation is stable (a joke about a spherical horse in a vacuum will be very useful here). When choices and decisions are made in the zone of ignorance, the rating scale does not work. Decisions can be justified and weighed. Point. And away from destructive reflexions!
10. Thinking about what we will do after the pandemic
It is not yet possible to predict either the duration of general isolation or its consequences for the economy. But it is possible to predict what goods and services will be in demand worldwide after the pandemic. Long-term scenarios in themselves create the future of the company and inspire the movement forward. Perhaps someone is now choosing a wait-and-see tactic or even a business interruption. But, in my opinion, such a strategy can be destructive for business. Inaction itself can be a catalyst for anxiety and a growing crisis.
And finally, in a situation of global uncertainty, we should not forget that our most important assets are ourselves, our family and our team.