Living and Working in COVID-19 Limbo (i4cp login required)

Productivity

The just-released results of the Institute for Corporate
Productivity’s (i4cp) latest pulse survey—Workforce
Policies in Times of Crises
—confirm it: We’re working in COVID-19
limbo.

The
survey asked, What is your organization’s current policy on employees
continuing to work remotely versus returning to the office?
A third of
respondents (the greatest single group) said things are indefinite at present,
that their organizations are in a holding pattern and hadn’t announced a
specific date. In other words—limbo. 

 

Next
survey question: To what extent is the recent increase in COVID-19 cases
across the 
U.S.
affecting your organization’s timeline/decisions on working remotely versus
returning to the office?
The top response: We are rethinking our
approach but haven’t announced anything
. Again, limbo. 

How
many of us feel that we’re in limbo personally as well right now? 

Merriam-Webster
offers a four-part definition of limbo that pretty brilliantly sums up our
world’s current circumstances: 

  1. A place or state of restraint or confinement
  2. A
    place or state of neglect or oblivion
  3. An
    intermediate or transitional place or state
  4. A
    state of uncertainty

 Sound
familiar? On any given day, one or another—sometimes, all—of those descriptions
fit a bit too well.

Limbo
offers opportunities
 

While
the definitions cast something of a shadow on the idea of limbo, that doesn’t
mean we now find ourselves in an all-negative time. We are certainly challenged
at present, but this is also—or can be—a period of opportunity. 

On a
personal level, we hear of people cleaning out closets, starting new hobbies, switching
jobs, re-tooling their landscaping, catching up on household to-do lists, and
diving into other constructive projects.  

At
i4cp, we talk with members and other business leaders every day, learning about
the ways they are using this time to turn a lens inward in their organizations
and rethink how and where work is done, company policies, corporate culture,
organizational values, and more.  

Findings
from our recently published study, Next Practices in Holistic
Well-Being: The Performance Advantage
, suggest that the
high-performance organizations on which i4cp focuses are using this time to their
advantage, too.  

We
know from our research that market-leading companies place greater emphasis on
the whole-person well-being of their workforces and reap business benefits as a
result. That holistic approach encompasses physical, mental, financial,
community, career, and social well-being. 

During
this pandemic-induced limbo, leaders in high-performance firms are paying
special attention to their well-being programs, practices, and how they might
achieve even better results. Especially in the area of mental health (to help
workers better cope with the heightened stress of the pandemic, social unrest,
and other pressures). 

If,
like those leaders, you choose to use this time to imagine how your
organization might achieve better outcomes for your employees’ mental well-being,
review these next practices from i4cp’s well-being research to see what you
might apply: 

  1. Train organizational leaders
    at all levels to identify signs of mental distress in others
  2. Next practices explanation

  3. Train all employees to
    recognize signs of mental distress in themselves and others
  4. Encourage (and make it
    safe for) employees to report concerns about the emotional well-being of
    themselves and others
  5. Encourage (and make it
    safe for) employees to report feeling over-burdened by excessive
    collaboration requests
  6. Enable and encourage
    employees to schedule time daily for meditation, reflection, and/or mindfulness

Taking
time now to review your well-being practices and acting to implement some of
the strategies that drive positive results for market-leading companies will
help ensure that your firm is taking decisive steps to help employees maintain,
or enhance, their well-being.    

For
more information on strategies to strengthen your organization’s workforce
well-being outcomes, download i4cp’s Next Practices in Holistic
Well-Being: The Performance Advantage
. And if you’d like to
learn through interactions with other leaders in well-being, explore i4cp’s new
Employee
Well-Being Exchange
working group.

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