Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, I was talking to my doctor about the pain and inflammation flare ups associated with my rheumatoid arthritis. These were tied to certain thoughts from the past that would reemerge. He smiled and suggested a book called Switch on Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking and Health by Doctor Caroline Leaf. The book explains how you are not a victim of your past, your biology, or your present circumstances. Dr. Leaf can help you like she has me, learn that what we think actually affects us, both physically and mentally.
Dr. Caroline Leaf has spent the last 30 years researching the mind-brain connection, nature of mental health and formation of memory. She was one of the first in her field to study how the brain can change with directed mind input (neuroplasticity). Throughout her years of clinical practice, she has helped hundreds of thousands of people learn how to use their mind to detox and grow their brain to succeed in every area of their lives including school, university, and the workplace.
Even if you are doing your best to limit the news you receive regarding the virus, the reality of it won’t go away. This is a pandemic and it will spread fast if we don’t all do our part. How you process the news and receive the words and actions of others around you can and will affect your physical and emotional health.
You may be dealing with mixed emotions right now with respect to employment. If you are still working at an office or jobsite, you may have mixed emotions leaving your family. Your family, although valuing the paycheck, may not understand your added exposures.
If you are still employed, you are fortunate. You are not just helping your family, but you are in a position to help others who may need it, and also demonstrate the value of our industry and the professionalism of its people.
It is important to focus on positives, both with respect to how many are surviving the virus, and also how many are still employed. The more you can stay healthy and focused, the lesser the chances you will be laid off by your employer, provided they still have projects available for you.
What are some things you can do as an Employer or Executive Leader to help your company through this time?
- Weekly (or better, daily) ten-minute conference calls with your leadership team to encourage them and confirm your commitment moving forward.
- Add personal communication into the daily routine to show your concern for the team’s well-being. You can do this by showing your human side, acknowledging their families and thanking them for being there.
- You may need to directly communicate with them your expectations and what resources you have in place to measure their results. Irrespective of the pestilence, they ultimately make the choice whether to do their jobs and meet expectations.
- Evaluate and know your options. You and your financial advisors should be reviewing at least twice per month your team, your cash flow, and the areas of the stimulus for which you qualify. Set time aside to complete the applications for financial aid. If you part ways with employees, make sure it is clear to both whether this is permanent or temporary. This video provides helpful information.
Employees, what can you do to help everyone get through this time?
- Understand the expectations your supervisor has for you. If you don’t understand them, then communicate with your supervisor. Ask who is the best person from which to learn.
- Recognize that your employer and supervisor have more responsibilities than before. They have to protect themselves, their families, and their colleagues from a novel virus. Encouraging the boss is needed right now. Failing to do so may result in your termination, COVID or not. Skill can be taught – attitude and aptitude cannot.
- Limit the questions to your supervisor and co-workers that you can answer yourself with a little more effort. Your spare time may have increased, but the time at work may have decreased, because many of us are having to add additional safety, reporting and other responsibilities to our schedules.
- Stay focused on your job and manage your time wisely. Although you may be a helpful person, the best thing you can do now is stay focused on your responsibilities and goals for the day. Always ask before taking on other things, to make sure they are appreciated. Most of the time they are—if it is in addition to doing your job. When it replaces your job, it can be dangerous.
Everyone at work right now needs to eliminate noise and communicate results, encouragement and thankfulness for the opportunity they have before them. If you feel you are being mistreated, we are a phone call away to help you. We are all in this together.
The number one thing you can do for everyone right now is: control your thoughts, which flow into your actions and words. It is okay to have unrest. It is okay to feel uncertain, but it is not okay to hurt others or the business behind your paycheck.
Thank you for serving in the construction industry. You are appreciated.