Author Archives: Lynda Cusano

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7 things not to do when coronavirus lockdown and quarantine end

For most of us, life won’t return to normal right away.

Jessica Dolcourt May 11, 2020 CNET

Quarantine may loosen, but some restrictions could stick around.

A phased approach to lifting lockdown restrictions has already begun in the US and around the world, but that doesn’t mean the deadly coronavirus has gone away. In the US, over 79,000 people have already died from the COVID-19 disease, and the numbers are growing. We know that life will look different when cities and states reopen as local leaders attempt to restart the economy while trying to keep a second wave of coronavirus infections at bay.

As we count down the days until you can hug your friends, throw a party, file into a stadium and board an airplane, just remember that even as some restrictions loosen, that there’s still much we don’t know about the long-term behavior of this particular coronavirus strain. 

“The worst that can happen is that we make a misstep and let our emotions get ahead of the facts, and we have to go through this again,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a daily press conference last month.

In countries and cities that are beginning to reopen, the warning is clear: If cases surge again, the lockdowns will return. Reopening society may be a little different everywhere, but here are some common-sense codes to keep in mind.  Read more

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3 ways HR leaders can build new capabilities during COVID-19

Upskilling, virtual learning and other necessities during this pandemic.

By: Jeanne Meister | May 6, 2020  HR Executive

(Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

As businesses worldwide cancel in-person training due to the coronavirus, they are overwhelmingly turning to virtual learning. Whether that means upskilling the front line or adding new capabilities to managers, most leaders agree on one thing: They must continue to provide myriad ways to add new skills while keeping employees safe.

Collaborative social learning was already on the rise before the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, what we are seeing is more Chief Learning Officers experimenting with new ways  to deliver training, such as re-imagining virtual learning and offering online coaching from firms such as BetterUp and Thrive Global, as well as integrating online visual collaboration tools such as Miro and Mural to enable remote teams to participate in online design thinking sessions.

Here are three suggestions for building capabilities, based on what I am seeing from our clients as they re-invent learning and development during  these uncertain times. Read more

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7 best practices for supporting employees during Covid-19

Getting culture right is crucial at any time—but it’s particularly important in times of crisis.

By: Diane Adams | May 1, 2020 , Human Resource Executive

“People always remember how you make them feel.”

During the hardest times, this quote is especially true—people always remember how you make them feel. In 10 or even 30 years, people will remember the coronavirus pandemic and how their companies made them feel during this unprecedented time.

I work at a company that has a cultural value of “treating employees like family.” As COVID-19 continues its spread across the globe, the health and safety of our employees is our top priority. This has been our guiding principle in making difficult decisions. Taking lessons from my current role and previous experiences, here are seven things companies can be doing now to boost employee happiness and wellness during the coronavirus pandemic: Read more

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At a time of great uncertainty, many human resources departments are putting more emphasis on happiness and employee morale than ever—and that may be raising the role’s long-term value.

Thanks to COVID-19, HR departments find themselves in an interesting position these days.

To put it simply, they are tasked with helping to build normalcy at a time when little feels normal, and that means not only helping employees to navigate the benefits that their company offers, but also helping to maintain overall mood and distribute important communications to people on staff.

And that makes the role of the chief people officer (or whatever your HR chief goes by) increasingly valuable, notes The Economist, which recently compared the role to that of a chief financial officer during the 2008 financial crisis.

“The duties of chief people officers, as human-resources heads are sometimes called, look critical right now,” the magazine wrote last month. “They must keep employees healthy; maintain their morale; oversee a vast remote-working experiment; and, as firms retrench, consider whether, when and how to lay workers off. Their in-trays are bulging.” Read more

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Coronavirus Career Advice: 8 Ways To Be More Effective While You Work From Home

Laura Begley Bloom, Senior Contributor, Forbes

work from home increase productivity
Want to be more productive while working from home? Here are some tips to follow. GETTY

With the coronavirus pandemic raging around the world, millions of people are suddenly finding themselves working from home—for better or for worse. In many cases, this means sharing a dining room table with kids who are doing remote learning or carving out a corner of a crowded bedroom. Yaara Gooner to the rescue. This architect and designer has worked with five-star hotels, luxury restaurants and flagship commercial properties around the globe, designing spaces that boost productivity and spark creativity, while also offering a sense of place and home.

Most recently, as the lead architect and designer at LABS (flexible coworking spaces across London) and STAY (serviced apartments with the luxuries of a boutique hotel), Gooner has focused on creating environments that help people thrive. “We create spaces that are optimized for sleep, work and play,” says Gooner. “They are designed with a focus on wellness, where members and guests can be at their most productive and feel their best.”

Last month and this month, LABS and STAY have been offering their London-based spaces to those at the frontline of the pandemic, but in normal times, the brands provide hubs of enterprise that are designed to help everyone from travelers to local entrepreneurs maximize productivity, growth and well-being. Set to open in 2020, Victoria House will be LABS’ most ambitious venture yet—a contemporary workspace in an historic building.

Here, we caught up with Gooner and got her tips for how to be more effective, maximize productivity and maintain motivation while working from home—in style.   Read more

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5 Employee Stress Management Solutions in the Time of Coronavirus

Chiradeep BasuMallick Contributor, HR Technologist

Apr 14, 2020

five technologies for employee stress management

Have you taken proactive steps for employee stress management as your workforce faces the impact of COVID-19? For Stress Awareness Month 2020, we discuss:

  • The link between working from home (WFH)/remote work and employee stress
  • 5 employee stress management technologies you need during COVID-19
  • Why these tools matter now more than ever before

April is National Stress Awareness Month, and April 16, 2020, is National Stress Awareness Day. There has never been a better time to talk about employee stress. As COVID-19 has compelled millions of employees to work from home (WFH), there are growing concerns about stress, isolation, anxiety, and other mental health issues that are emerging not just from being isolated, but from the uncertainty about stability in these times.

The link between remote work and employee stress is well documented. In an October 2019 article, the World Economic Forum cited a United Nations report that found that 41% of remote workers experienced high stress levels compared to just 25% of office workers.

Buffer’s The 2020 State of Remote Work survey of 3,500+ employees also shows similar findings – 20% report feeling lonely while 18% aren’t able to unplug after work.

As WFH volumes rise in response to coronavirus, it is time to rethink the approach to employee stress management. Traditional events that helped manage stress in the past – such as company retreats, outdoor activities, Casual Friday, etc. – are no longer possible. Instead, organizations must now turn to tech solutions for employee stress management that are contactless and digitally accessible from home. Read more

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3 ways to protect your mental health during – and after – COVID-19

13 Apr 2020

Karen Rommelfanger Director, Neuroethics Program, Emory University Alvaro Fernández Ibáñez Chief Executive Officer and Editor-in-Chief, SharpBrains

  • Understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic and measures to prevent the virus’ transmission affect our mental health can help us adapt;
  • From focusing on everyday boosts to mental health to empowering our communities, these expert recommendations can help.
  • Improving our mental health hygiene now could help us create a “new normal” for mental well-being in the future.

How many of us right now are experiencing a heady cocktail of confusion, anxiety and even some surprising moments of respite from our pre-COVID-19, always-on-the-go culture?

In a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 45% of Americans felt that the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health (19% felt it had a “major impact”).

Our traditional media and social media feeds are filled with urgent and often conflicting imperatives to change our routines and be constantly vigilant.

The online onslaught of rapidly updating media stories reporting worst-case scenarios can fuel fear and panic. Uncritical overconsumption of such messages can erode one of our most precious and essential human resources for weathering the COVID-19 storm: our mental health.

Even before the virus outbreak, depression and anxiety have been noted as defining features of our times. Isolation and uncertainty are not going to help us deal with the new realities of our newly virtual lives – virtual work, virtual schools and virtual family care – under the incredible stress of unfamiliar circumstances. Read more

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Tips to manage loneliness, anxiety while social distancing during coronavirus

By Lauren Dozier , GMA

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the globe, Americans are being urged to stay home and practice social distancing to help “flatten the curve” or slow the spread of the outbreak.

In a growing number of states across the country, that means all non-essential businesses are closed, all non-essential gatherings canceled, and millions of citizens are limiting their interactions with one another — essentially a full stop on daily life as we know it.

And while all of this is for the greater good, the isolation can take a toll. Feelings of loneliness can have a negative impact on mental and physical health, and can exacerbate anxiety and depression, according to the American Psychological Association.

“When we have to be physically separate, it’s so easy not to feel nurtured,” said psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach.

Keeping up with social connections is crucial right now to fend off feelings of loneliness and anxiety, which can be heightened amid the global pandemic. Read more

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It’s not too late: How to prioritize worker mental health during a pandemic

Working from home so suddenly can negatively affect employees’ mental health, but technology may be able to help, experts said.

It’s not too late: How to prioritize worker mental health during a pandemic

Working from home so suddenly can negatively affect employees’ mental health, but technology may be able to help, experts said.

Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash

AUTHOR Sheryl Estrada

PUBLISHED April 7, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has cautioned that fear and anxiety about the virus can be overwhelming. 

In fact, more than 4 in 10 adults (45%) responding to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation Health poll said worry and stress related to COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health, up from 32% in early March. ​Mental health wellness must be a priority in the workplace during these challenging times, according to experts, and technology can play a role in increasing employee access to care.

“One in every 5 American adults experience some form of mental illness — over 43 million Americans,” William Kassler, chief medical officer of government health and human services at IBM Watson Health, told HR Dive in a phone interview. A work environment can have both positive and negative effects on an employees’ mental health, Kassler added.  

The traditional workplace has changed for many since late February when the CDC advised businesses to start preparing for the spread of COVID-19, specifically focusing on transitioning to telework. Working at home and the disruption of one’s usual routine can be very stressful, said Kassler, a health policy expert and practicing primary care internist and epidemiologist. But research has shown that most employer-sponsored health plans do not offer coverage for mental health that’s comparable to their physical health offerings.

It’s not too late for companies in a time of crisis to implement mental health strategies, Kassler said. However, they will be in response mode. “In a pandemic response, there are three phases: preparedness, response and recovery,” Kassler explained. “Right now if you’re asking, what can employers do, well, the time for preparedness is gone. They can only respond.”  Read more

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8 relaxing activities to help you cope with coronavirus stress

If you feel overwhelmed by the state of the world and need to relax, do these activities.

By Caroline Roberts,

If you’re currently undergoing mandatory quarantine or self-imposed social distancing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, you’ve probably seen posts online about how this is the perfect time to get your life in order. Even CNET has plenty of articles about how to be productive, including staying on top of your exercise routine to cleaning your whole house

While focusing on productivity is helpful for some, many of us are struggling to just make it through these stressful times, and don’t take much solace in reading about how to improve ourselves right now.

If this sounds familiar to you, I have good news — there are plenty of activities you can do to help you feel grounded and less anxious. I spoke to Tara Martello, a meditation and mindfulness coach, who told me about how trying to be uber-productive adds unnecessary pressure to an already tense situation, and how we can institute basic meditative practices into our quarantined lives instead. Read more