Working in Crisis (Coronavirus)
Working in Crisis (Coronavirus)
This is a challenging time across the nation. We know how much responsibility you carry as you provide essential services to your clients and support for your staff.
You’re working hard and we want you to know — we’re here for you.
At Alpha, we want to be a source of support, encouragement, and helpful resources to you as you stand in the front line of your work.
In this spirit, we have put together practical tips based on reputable sources and our extensive experience. We have also pulled together additional resources for your review and have linked them below for your use.
Helpful Tips and Highlights:
1. Stay calm and balance your approach:
In all that you do, it’s important to temper safety and precautions with calm communications and reassurance. There is enough going on in media to scare all of us half to death so please be wise in the way that you communicate and in your actions so as not to be alarming. Perpetuating alarm could lead to clients prematurely shutting down and disconnecting from you, staff preemptively taking leave or creating negative client services experiences based on fear vs. fact.
2. You got this: Leverage your existing quality practices
You are already ahead of the game if you are actively following local health and safety licensing and/or Federal regulations for health and safety. Effective handwashing is one of the most important parts of limiting this kind of communicable disease. Thankfully, handwashing is something that most people know as hygiene basics and is relatively easy to reinforce and practice.
Consider reasonable additional environment sanitizing on the weekend or when clients and most staff are not present. Be sure to keep cleaning and sanitizing products out of children’s reach at all times. We don’t want to trade one health challenge for another!
3. Review your Emergency Preparedness Plan:
What’s already included that you should revisit?
What needs to be added/updated: Communication plans, teleworking options, What could you offer clients and stakeholders to keep services flowing on some level? How could you use technology to accomplish this? What are your policies on controlling communicable diseases?
How could you help staff and clients make their home environments as healthy as possible? There are tips sheets from CDC on that (see resources posted below).
Responsible communication will be your best friend. How could you create solid 2-way communication to receive trustworthy information on the spread of the virus in your area and how/with who will you share information should the virus enter your environment? Your communications plan should also include how you will communicate with all stakeholders.
4. Uplevel your Communications with compassion:
Let your staff know about the overall approach you will implement and how you are staying on top of all this. Remember that your staff are human and will have their own fears and challenges. They have families and people who depend on them too. Provide them with opportunities to voice their feelings and ideas without shame, judgment or retribution.
Some staff groups may have different concerns based on their work roles and the associated levels of risk for contracting communicable diseases. For instance, medical staff, first responders and other staff who interact with the public are usually more at risk.
Use a coaching approach when communicating with your staff: Listen to understand where they are coming from. Get curious and ask open-ended questions. Normalize their fears and then move into facts and the business of handling this challenge.
Get the facts and dispel the myths. A lot of fear comes from myths. The CDC and Chicago Department of Public Health have great FACTS about the Corona Virus 2019 (aka COVID-19, novel coronavirus outbreak).
We love this one from the CDC:
“CDC Frequently Asked Questions and Answers: Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) and Children” (Linked below)
Reach out for support: You don’t have to do it alone.
Let us know if there is any additional help you may need! We are here to listen, brainstorm/strategize with you, coach, help with training needs, etc.
Connect with your community partners, local medical offices and hospitals, coalitions, funders, CDC, departments of Public Health, etc.
Patty & the Alpha Team