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Managing During a Pandemic

With the volume of coronavirus cases spiking, many people are looking for answers on how to stay psychologically safe and secure with the threats that come with this current crisis. Following is a short list from the management and psychology literatures to help you during this time:

  1. Control what you can control. Life is filled with risk and variables of which many you can not control. So, focus on controlling the items you can like wearing a mask, social distancing, and limiting your exposure to others. We can not control many of the policies that are passed or how quickly the science will come up with solutions, but we can control our own emotions and reactions. Fear and anxiety are two of the major stressors, but monsters live in the dark until they are exposed for the frauds they can be.

  2. Monsters live in the dark. Fear comes from uncertainty that we experience. Human beings love controlling the environment and routine of which we have very little right now. It is okay to ask the "what if x happens?"questions...answer those questions playing the what if game. Our self-talk and sharing those thoughts with others can often be cathartic. We often find these questions have solutions that can be positive, and while the current pandemic poses unusual levels of risk, keep in mind pandemics have existed in the past, and humankind does pull through. We have the best science in history working hard to help accelerate this process!

  3. Decisions are real time. Please give leaders and managers grace during this time as there is no written playbook for our current pandemic. Most leaders care significantly and are attempting to navigate this crisis with their employees and/or constituents' needs and families in mind. While it is great to critically think and assist our leaders, cut them some slack as our current pandemic is novel.

  4. Value this time. You may never get this amount of quality time with your families again. On the lighter side, some people would be okay with that; but, many realize this counter-intuitive point is valuable as life will return to normal and may not allow for this volume of time to ever exist again with your loved ones. Savor it...

  5. Self-Develop. If you are able to, use this time to gain/acquire skills that you have been putting off for some time. The world will only be more reliant on technology going forward, so the more tools and functional knowledge you have in regard to technology can springboard you into a better place for your career after the pandemic. In addition, it can possibly increase the quality of life for years to come as organizations realize employees can work from anywhere for many jobs which may free up personal time and geographies you can live in!

Dr. Jason Cavich

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