Navigating Stress During a Pandemic
Employer Toolkit for COVID Stress & Trauma
Employers focus their time and money on the physical and technical aspects of continuing their business throughout the pandemic in order to slow the spread of the virus while also continuing work and production. However, a significant toll of these measures is the human side of working during the pandemic. The human side includes a variety of stressors, both acute and on-going, that employees face. These stressors include:
The guidelines and status of our organizations seem to be forever in flux. For example, a business that is running at capacity today might be running at 25% capacity tomorrow. A school that was planning to return to in-person learning is suddenly staying remote learning for an undefined period of time. This uncertainty only enhances the stress from the pandemic.
The array of stressors for each employee is unique to their situation and life circumstances. Thus, while we have ALL experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on each person is UNIQUE and SITUATIONAL.
Most employees have continued working while coping with these stressors. And frequently, there comes a moment when it is all too much, when they are overwhelmed, and they have hit a breaking point. The employee believes they can’t keep working, that they need to quit or take a leave so that they can attend to their other stressors. The employer sees lower productivity in an employee who is or appears not focused or even disruptive in work.
How can the employer help retain and maintain the employee?
What steps can an employer take to retain their employees and increase employees’ trust that the employer values their contribution at work and wants to support them through this unprecedented time?
Specialized Resiliency and Trauma Response Services for Your Employees
Individual Resiliency Sessions
These sessions are for any employee overwhelmed by the stresses of COVID and looking to build their resiliency and coping. These sessions use a clinician trained in Psychological First Aid (PFA) with a specialization in trauma, coping, and resiliency. Sessions may include helping employees connect with individual therapists. Sessions are 50 minutes each, 1-3 sessions per person, offered in-person or via Zoom.
Resiliency Coping Group
This group is a guided discussion of stress, trauma, our body’s response to stress, and self-care. The co-facilitators use the Post-Traumatic Stress Management (PTSM) model to help employees identify the impact of stress on them and what personal and group resources they have to be more resilient. This resiliency group is usually offered when there is a shared loss, shared a traumatic experience, or chronic on-going stress for the group (e.g., unexpected death of an employee, violence in the workplace, chronic uncertainty, and risk of exposure to the virus). This service is particularly aimed at teams or groups of employees who have been working from home and are returning to work on site. Sessions are 90 minutes each, can accomodate 4-12 people, and are offered in-person or via Zoom.
Training for Managers and Supervisors
This training is about responding to and managing employees’ concerns about returning to the worksite or office. The impact of the pandemic on work and the work process is different than any other workplace challenge. The focus is on how to attend to the social and emotional needs (discomforts and anxieties) with their return to the worksite and office. The training is 1 hour and is offered in-Person or via Zoom
Dr. Good has provided stress and trauma response services in a broad array of workplace settings. These settings include health care, educational institutions (k-12 and higher education), religious institutions, human services, professional services (e.g., insurance, legal), and the construction and development industries. For more information about Dr. Good’s expertise and experience, see her bio.