Given the uncertainty and fears around the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all experiencing varying degrees of reactions to an abnormal and unprecedented series of events. This could mean there are increased feelings of stress, isolation and/or anxiety across employees, their families and networks. While this might be a new experience, it’s also totally normal.
While health authorities and local governments help us navigate COVID related health and safety procedures, mental wellness can sometimes be left up to individuals and play a second fiddle. In times of high anxiety and stress, it’s more important than ever to safeguard our mental wellness. As a society we have gone through the unprecedented levels of trauma that can either be recognized and processed immediately or have a long-lasting impact on individuals.
For us at Traction Guest, this was one of the first priorities as we’ve started understanding the impact COVID-19 was having on communities and our employees overall. Pandemic aside, Healthy Hearts and Minds is one of the core values of Traction Guest and it’s something we take seriously at our company. As we’ve witnessed accelerated rates of change in businesses and economies, we have deployed a number of resources to support our team’s wellbeing.
While for some of us, the adjustments to COVID changes meant more time with family and slightly extended work days, there are others that were deeply affected by the changes and are struggling to adjust to the negative impact on themselves, their families or society as a whole. It’s important to understand that people on almost every team might struggle and may require additional healthcare professional support. For Traction Guest employees in Canada, we added Registered Clinical Counselling to our benefit coverage at the beginning of the year. However we’ve realized that as we collectively go through the impact of COVID-19, additional support options are required. To further support this we have doubled the maximum amount covered for the benefit - either through direct benefit submission or cost expenses.
Resilience training for the management team
Since the very first weeks of moving to a remote environment, we’ve identified that we will need champions throughout the organization to help the team navigate through COVID-19 changes and help extended teams stay resilient and productive. No one was prepared for the types of changes we were facing. So we knew we had to provide new levels of support and knowledge to our managers and people champions. We have partnered with a Clinical Counsellor to put on a series of training for our People leaders to understand how to lead and support their employees during this time. The focus of the sessions is to help build resilience across our organization. These interactive sessions introduced the concept of the collective trauma environment cycle we were going through. The training also presented tools that managers could leverage to address their own struggles and extend it to the teams. As a group we’ve worked through the tools that helped develop empathy to the extended team, shared purpose to make a difference in the world, and a common language to communicate through this adversity.
Gratitude as a habit
Thankful huddle is a weekly tradition at Traction Guest we have been doing since the company started. Every employee has a chance to tell everyone what they are thankful for. It’s a moment for all of us to reflect and also an opportunity for our whole team to get together at the end of the week to connect before starting the weekend. It’s a really special time for us to end the week. Some people choose to thank their teammates. Others call out members of different teams. Some reflect on the current environment - health, family, pets, and even sunshine. Overall at the end of the week of hard work, we find a moment of positivity, hope, and a chance to thank each other. This tradition is even more valuable during this time when people may be feeling more isolated and anxious. Mental Health and Wellness is a topic that we are very open and transparent about at Traction Guest. Our ability to live up our values of creating the opportunity, doing the right thing, and building community depends on our team being in a state of resourcefulness and fulfillment. These states are only possible when the environment of healthy hearts and healthy minds are fostered. It’s an ongoing reminder for our teams that they are not alone in it’s a journey we are on together.