How to CTRL, ALT and DEL

4 min read

In February, Benestar hosted a nationwide Customer Community Collaboration Event focused on how leaders can boost positivity and productivity in prolonged times of uncertainty during COVID-19.

In this special event, Control Alt Delete, we focused on how to CONTROL what we can, ALTER our thoughts, and DELETE unhelpful expectations. The discussion commenced with Benestar’s leading point of view, based on observations with customers and individuals, before moving to how we can all harness an optimistic mindset to be our source of strength and a fresh start for 2022.

Misalignment of Expectation and Continued Apathy 

As we move into our third year of the pandemic, we are finding that no single intervention is effective, as responses are disparate, and our experience is no longer collective.

  • Leaders are now managing many issues, including returning to the office, working from home, working in a hybrid model, work satisfaction, change fatigue, and vaccine booster hesitancy.
  • We are now seeing many individual variations in employees’ responses when previously there was uniformity.
  • Research into the historical patterns of a major disaster suggests that individuals can be at higher risk and increase vulnerability well after the disaster ends. In the immediate term, there is a shared response; however, if an individual is struggling to adapt to the ‘new normal’, they may be further isolated from others in the long term.
  • The beginning of the pandemic brought a sense of community engendered by state laws ensuring a collective experience; however, we are now seeing a massive variation in behaviours and emotional responses, with some individuals appearing seemingly carefree, socialising and booking holidays, whilst others are experiencing significant anxiety and are reluctant to change their behaviours from a lockdown.
  • There is no right or wrong response, and many factors impact our reactions.
  • Many of us are working to change our response to COVID-19, reframing our perception of the virus as something fearful to something we must live with.
  • Psychologically, our minds struggle to shift focus from fear and anxiety to living with the new normal in a short space of time.
  • We also notice organisational variation in responses, with some offices closed completely while others host social events.

From Languishing to Flourishing: Moving into Optimism and Productivity

As we move into 2022, we ask how we can create a culture of gratitude and optimism that drives increased productivity? By focusing on this question, we can transition from languishing to flourishing.

  •  There is a need to be ‘corporately creative', meaning that we need to implement a range of tailored interventions, for both individuals and groups, that are specific and tailored and result in a return on investment being driven against budget spend.
  • In doing so, organisations will foster optimism and productivity, as when people feel better, they tend to perform better.Many leaders are unsure about managing protocols policies and balance this with being empathetic to individuals differences and circumstances.
  • Leaders are finding this challenging to navigate, as they are unsure of how to provide support to both their team and specifically to team members who may be struggling.
  • For every $1.00 that an organisation invests in employee mental health, $2.30 is received by the organisation as a return on the investment.

Maintaining Resilience

Leaders must be agile and flexible in their response to change and complexity, thereby fostering optimism and productivity amongst their teams, negating issues around competing priorities and objectives.

Many Leaders utilise MyCoach for People Leaders for this purpose:

  • MyCoach for People Leaders is an excellent extension to the internal support already provided by HR and wellbeing practitioners.
  • It is one-on-one, confidential coaching to support leaders with ongoing ambiguity and uncertainty.
  • The service, delivered by senior Benestar clinicians, reinforces the importance of empathetic approaches when supporting employees to achieve operational and strategic objectives.
As with leaders, resilience is also crucial to the wellbeing of the individual:

  • Individuals must put their energy into factors they can control, including self-care, healthy habits, and connection with others.
  • In addition to controlling, one must also alter their thoughts: consciously shifting their thinking to be helpful and realistic and reflecting on practical versus unhelpful and unrealistic thinking.
  • Finally, one must delete unhelpful expectations: we all need to be flexible and adaptable to changing landscape.
Our customers also shared some tips on maintaining resilience and on the challenges facing their workplaces:

  • There is both importance and power in establishing rituals in the workplace: walking together, sharing lunch, and more.
  • Organisations also reported a divide between the pro-vaccination and the my-choice vaccination cohorts that is a source of conflict, with high emotion affecting mental health and leaders acting reactively in line with changes in state legislation.
  • With shifting regulations, many employees are simply now struggling with change and with adjusting to living with COVID-19 still in the community.
  • It is no longer relevant to consider returning to a pre-pandemic world – we must now focus on how to update thinking and processes and provide tailored and specific support for employees in the current climate.
  •  Community sentiment had shifted significantly with the introduction of Omicron over the Christmas period.
  • Leaders now focus on a direct connection, creating genuine conversations regarding returning to work under a hybrid working model.
  • It is vital to be cognisant of toxic positivity and the importance of genuine, realistic empathy to support others.
We are working to support our organisations in a variety of ways, including:

  •  Webinar programs build resilience, self-care strategies, change fatigue, burnout, and effective communication.
  • The co-design and development of customised sessions for leaders, in conjunction with promoting MyCoach for People Leaders service.
  • Supporting our organisations to return to the workplace, introducing proactive wellbeing approaches.
  • Supporting employees who require immediate support and intervention to address unique needs.
  • Helping organisations to normalise help-seeking behaviour and equipping leaders to assist their teams and build understanding around individual life and mental health issues.
  • Highlighting the use of MyCoach for People Leaders as an extra check-in, ideal for leaders to bounce ideas off, clarify employee presentations, and receive a clinical perspective to increase their confidence.
  • Utilising MyCoach for People Leaders both before and after employee conversations to allow for preparation and debriefing, thereby providing support that builds capability across technical and mental health-related issues.