Author Archives: Lynda Cusano

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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, CNet.com

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



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Setting priorities every 4 hours: the new normal for leaders

The way we need to work now is more than just adapting to the work processes we had in place last week, as we moved to our new virtual workforce.

By: Scott Cawood | March 30, 2020 – Human Resource Executive

As leaders right now, we are doubly challenged. We must run our business, but, of course, in a new uncharted world. While we are still in the business of making money, most of how we did that a month ago is irrelevant. The way we now need to work is more than just adapting to the work processes we had in place last week, as we moved to our new virtual workforce. Traditional methods about employee performance must be jettisoned in favor of a refocus on the whole person. Your employees aren’t just going through COVID-19 as employees; they are going through as full people. We must change how we lead and how we work to adapt to this new reality and not retreat back to our past ways as the market corrects. Yesterday, we were leaders and employees, but today we are all humans scrambling forward. Read more


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The coronavirus crisis thrusts corporate HR chiefs into the spotlight

In a pandemic, a chief people officer can make or break a company

from The Economist, March 24, 2020

WHEN THE financial crisis rocked the business world in 2007-09, boardrooms turned to corporate finance chiefs. A good CFO could save a company; a bad one might bury it. The covid-19 pandemic presents a different challenge—and highlights the role of another corporate function, often unfairly dismissed as soft. Never before have more firms needed a hard-headed HR boss.

The duties of chief people officers, as human-resources heads are sometimes called, look critical right now. 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 Resources and things to do during self-isolation


By PHILADELPHIA (WPVI)

While we are staying at home the foreseeable future, there are plenty of things to keep us all going. We have fun ways to pass the time, ways of bringing people together even when we’re all apart, and things to keep moving forward.

Check out our resources and things to do during self-isolation. Read more


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COVID-19 Is Coinciding With a Loneliness Epidemic

By MICHAEL LEE STALLARD and KATHARINE P. STALLARD

Government Executive

The novel coronavirus pandemic demands social distancing, quarantine and isolation so that vulnerable individuals are not exposed to the virus and healthcare systems are not overwhelmed. Collectively, we understand the goodness of “flattening the curve.” Each of us must do our part to slow the spread of the virus and COVID-19, the disease it causes. But it is not the only epidemic we are facing right now. The requirement to separate ourselves from others comes at a time when America and many other nations are in the midst of an epidemic of loneliness whose antidote is greater positive social connection. 

Our current situation—the simultaneous need to reduce physical distance and to increase social, or relational, connection to curb the rise in loneliness—presents a challenge for us all. Ignoring the need for connection at this time is not an option. Research suggests that the majority of individuals today lack sufficient social connection. This connection deficit may exacerbate the negative effects of stress and diminish physical and emotional resilience that people will need to fight the COVID-19 virus. 

Relational connection is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, there are steps people can take to boost social connection while maintaining physical distance. Individuals can still experience the physical and emotional health benefits that arise from sufficient meaningful connection, which will help them fare better through this difficult time.  Read more