Being Pragmatic About COVID-19 At Work
Warning: A proud Dad tells a story about his oldest daughter handling a cornavirus issue with her employer and a co-worker.
First of all, I’m proud of my oldest daughter.
I am proud of how she has matured and grown as a person, proud of her achievements in school and in life, proud of the ethical decisions she has made and her commitment to stick to her values, and proud of how she has taken a pragmatic and responsible approach to living her day to day life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The other day, she told me about a decision she made that related to her work and the threat of coronavirus. And the more I’ve thought about it, the more I realized that this was a model approach… And another reason to be proud of her.
Here is the story…
My daughter attends college in Virginia, but works throughout the year for a national restaurant chain. This restaurant chain does a lot of wonder things for their employees (tuition reimbursement and free meals), and my daughter has been working for this company since high-school. They have been her only employer and quite frankly, she loves the company, the work and the people.
Similar to many companies that serve the public and handle food, this restaurant has been very supportive of its workforce during the COVID pandemic. When employees get sick and have coronavirus symptoms, they cover the cost of testing and insist they quarantine. Employees get some pay while they quarantine and the company insists they provide a negative test result before they return to work. All sensible and good policies.
However, what happens if someone travels for several days to a place for a vacation? And not just any place, but a place where the coronavirus is spreading fast and new cases and deaths are increasing rapidly?
One such place where coronavirus is spreading rapidly is Florida.
We all know that Florida is experiencing increases in COVID-19 infections. Florida has surpassed New York and has the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the country (California is #1). At 10,000 new cases a day, Florida has the highest new case count in the country (California is #2).
And we know that young people traveling to Florida for parties, beach time and vacation fun have become sick following their return to their home states. In some cases, these young adults have helped spread coronavirus to others.
Recently, a co-worker of my daughter traveled to Florida for fun. While such trips are not on my daughter’s radar, she does not tell people how to live their lives. What she does expect is that if you put yourself in higher risk situations for contracting the coronavirus, you should respect other people and take some common sense / responsible steps to avoid passing the virus onto others.
So, when the co-worker returned to Virginia from her Florida vacation, my daughter was surprised that this person was immediately put back on the work schedule.
Upon seeing the schedule, my daughter politely asked her manager if the restaurant could wait a few days to make sure this person was OK before she returned to work. She also asked her co-worker to forego coming to work for a short time and get tested – just to be safe.
Some people may consider this kind of behavior “bossy” or inappropriate from a young woman. In fact, when I shared this story with my friends on Facebook, I had one friend say this was “fear mongering.”
My daughter only made these requests for her welfare, for the welfare of her coworkers and the for public who patronize the restaurant. No judgement. No fear mongering. No anger. No personal attacks. She just considered the facts and suggested what I think was a pragmatic course of action.
Like many people, myself included, my daughter recognizes that people have a right to live their lives. She does not tell people they cannot go to the supermarket, restaurants, have social events or walk around. She does not police people’s behavior or yell at people who are not wearing masks in public places. She wants to return to in-person classes at school, because there is no way for her have virtual studio or labs.
Never the less, she knows a coworker is going to destinations in Florida that are nationally known have high rates of coronavirus infection, she does consider that to be a little bit different than a quick run to the market. In her mind, a decision like going to Florida for several days and coming right back to work requires a little more thought and prudence from both the coworker and the business.
Of course, businesses that are part of national chains follow corporate policies that are set by others. My daughter understands this. This company’s policy was to support employees if they become sick – not before. Managers sometimes have some leeway or flexibility, but when it comes to healthcare and personal privacy, there is only so much people can do.
My daughter asked for the restaurant to wait. She asked her co-worker to wait. The restaurant declined.
Hence, since the manager would not ask the employee to wait and there was no policy to require the employee to quarantine or require they get tested since they were not reporting symptoms, my daughter was offered a “leave of absence” to wait to see how the situation developed. She had enough money saved to cover rent, utilities and food, and decided that was the best option for her.
Instead of working, my daughter will patiently wait to see if her co-worker gets sick or gets a negative test result.
I am proud of her for the way she approached this situation. And I’m happy that she was offered a choice by her manager to wait it out.
This story, however, brings me to ask some questions:
Should companies ask their employees to report out-of-state travel to places with high infection rates?
What about visits to places (like hospitals) where there are high infection rates?
Should states get tougher about people to travel to states like Florida, Arizona, New York or California where there are high COVID-19 infection rates?
Some states have implemented non-binding travel restrictions, while others have imposed requirements. Starting August 1st, Massachusetts will require anyone who is a state resident and travels to a non-exempt state (or is coming into the state from another state that is not exempt) to complete a form and quarantine for 14 days unless they can provide a negative test result within 72 hours. How that will be tracked or enforced is a topic for discussion. But the fine for non-compliance is pretty steep: $500 a day.
Companies have largely banned in-person meetings and attending in-person events for the rest of the year.
For businesses that serve the public, like restaurants and supermarkets, not all are required to publicize if they have employees test positive for COVID-19. And none (that I am aware of) require people who travel out of state to report that travel and undergo testing before they return to work.
Every business needs to decide what makes the most sense for their day to day operations, but perhaps for certain types of businesses it is worth considering a policy that if employees leave the state to travel to other states with high infection rates – that they quarantine for a period before returning to work.
If a person travels and becomes infected with the virus during their trip – they likely won’t know for many days. What if this person is sick and spreads the virus to co-workers? A restaurant or supermarket could then lose employees to illness and lose the ability to operate well due to inadequate staffing. This impacts overall business operations from productivity to customer service to quality control.
While some people say the death rate from COVID-19 is low, the recovery time can still be long. We also have seen reports that the virus causes significant harm to the lung and heart in certain people. A person may recover in 3, 4 or 6 weeks, but keep in mind – they will be out of work and may not get paid their full salary until they test negative and return to work. The word “recovery” also may be somewhat relative.
I am a freedom-loving person. But freedom requires responsibility. Businesses should look at their COVID-19 policies and consider how personal travel can impact their operations as well as their workforce.
These are challenging times. As we continue to learn and find all the ways we can thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic, we ALL need to be smart and realize that some minor inconveniences are necessary to protect the health and welfare of the people around us.
Let’s look at situations much like my daughter did. Let us weigh the facts and not act out of fear, but purpose. A little pragmatic and common-sense decision-making today, can go a long way to making a brighter tomorrow.
- Published in COVID-19, Ethics and Integrity
15 Ways To Get Your Mojo Back During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) threat has changed many aspects of our daily life.
But whether we are run-down from work, isolated from social distancing and taking steps to “shelter in place,” or feeling stressed if we need to leave home and make potentially dangerous visits to facilities for our daily work, we are going to face moments when we lose our inner energy.
We all have faced those moments.
We do not need the threat of a virus to cause us to lose that special power we have inside – that drive or energy that is synonymous with effectiveness and success.
When we are in our zone, the feeling inside us is an almost magical force capable of propelling us forward to great heights.
However, when we are missing that feeling – there is a flatness to our state of being that creeps in. Put simply: We have lost our mojo.
So, how can you get your mojo back?
Here are some steps you can take to get your mojo back.
Keep in mind as you review this list:
- There is no pill or formula that will work for everyone or work every time.
- You may find that some days it will not take a great deal of effort to get your mojo back, while other days you need to use a great deal of effort.
The important point to remember as you try ideas from this list (which is by no means complete) is to do your best to quiet your mind and remove yourself from any sense or feeling of panic before you start.
I realize that may be easier to say than to do in practice, especially given what is happening around us.
What helps me get started is to think of the words from the great American Ralph Waldo Emerson who once said, “For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.”
Well, the same is true of fear or tension. For every minute you remain scared or uneasy, you are willfully giving up feeling peaceful.
Yes, the situation we are in is unique, but it will not be the end. It is one moment in time. So, do not allow yourself to drown in a flood of emotions. Take a breath and get your mind to a point of calmness. Peace is the best starting point for getting your mojo back.
Sleep to Recharge Your Batteries
How do you start to find peace and get your mojo back? The first thing I’ve discovered is that if I have lost my mojo it is typically because I am run-down or tired. Getting run-down or not getting enough sleep can lower your immune system, reduce blood flow and oxygen to your muscles and brain, and diminish your overall mood.
Fatigue is a mojo killer!
Though sometimes we feel better after just one night of rest and sleep, getting two days rest will really help return your body to a higher energy level. Caution: Do not oversleep, or you will find your body stays in a state of fatigue.
Wake Up Early and Get Moving (No Matter How Hard It Is)
Waking up early and getting moving creates a lot of positive reactions in your brain and throughout your body.
Many people do not consider themselves “morning people” and prefer to sleep in. The truth is – everyone’s body is fully capable of waking up early. We have conditioned ourselves through habits to associate greater pleasure with staying in bed and daydreaming then with getting up and moving.
Part of getting your mojo back will mean creating new habits and not succumbing to the old ones. It takes time. But if you start waking up early and getting active in the morning, it will help improve your thinking, productivity and health, and be a great step towards getting your mojo back.
It is true, there are no more 5 am Orangetheory classes, pickup basketball games or late day stops at the gym. But exercise remains an important way to recapture our mojo.
So, how do we exercise during a pandemic where we are asked to “shelter in place”?
The key is to just get started. Keep it simple. You don’t need weights, resistance bands or a Peloton with an online racing community. Start by doing some pushups and some jumping jacks. The number is not important – what is important is getting your heart rate up.
Begin with just 10 or 15 minutes of exercise and see how you feel.
As the weather is warming-up in many parts of the country, you can go out running or walking.
Exercise will help to get your blood flowing faster, which will get more oxygen to your brain and muscles. This will give you an energy boost and help you to get your mojo back.
When I say “get organized” I don’t mean download a bunch of time management apps for your phone or sort all your wrapping paper by holiday in plastic containers.
Simply lay out your schedule for the day. Create some goals and be sure to include a creative project to start and other ‘to dos’ that you can quickly tackle.
If you have a blueprint and create some structure to your day, it will enable you to accomplish more. When we can see our accomplishments that helps create positive feelings and a sense of success. Positive energy and success are feed our mojo.
Mojo Does Not Work with Anger, Fear, Pity or Sorrow
Mojo is NOT compatible with anger, fear, pity or sorrow. If those are the emotions you have flowing through your body, you will not be able to get your mojo back.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Have some empathy, Mike! We are living through a [INSERT ADULT LANGUAGE / COLORFUL METAPHOR] pandemic!”
You may find it hard to believe, but I hear you loud and clear, and I am empathetic. I’m living through the same thing. Nevertheless, difficult as these times may be, you will not be able to get your mojo back if your mind and soul are stuck in a negative state.
To start to break out of your funk you need to think about all the good in your life. Start with the most basic positive facts about your life and say them aloud. Letting the words come out of your mouth will better affirm a positive state of being. The more positive thoughts you have – the closer you will get to restoring your mojo.
It may seem corny to some but visualizing yourself being successful or doing something you have always wanted to do can be a great way to generate some mojo.
I’ve used visualization before exercising as well as while I am running and swimming. I have used it in preparation for events I’ve spoken at, as well as for things that have not yet taken place that I am striving to achieve.
While no moment will turn out exactly as we planned, visualization can help generate some of the energy that makes up our mojo.
Outline Your Strengths, and Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
One of the most consistent exercises in personal achievement experts recommend is to outline what your strengths are as a person.
What do you do well in life?
What professional skills do you have?
Another tactic is to outline some short-term and long-term goals. Create a list of places you want to go, skills you want to gain, books you want to read, etc.
But don’t put these things in your computer. If you type them up and stash them away in a folder, they will rarely be seen. Get a piece of paper and write them out. Then hang your lists on a refrigerator or someplace where you can see them each day. The truth is we react more positively to things when they are on paper and in front of us each day.
Connect with People
Connecting with people in our age of social distancing is still possible, and it is an amazing way to get your mojo back.
For starters, pick up the phone and call someone. Ask them how they are doing. Listen to their stories and share some of your own.
Create a virtual forum and invite people around you to participate. In “How To Socialize When Practicing Social Distancing,” I outlined a few ways you can do this. Click here to read.
Open yourself to learn and laugh.
Interacting with others can be a quick way to elevate mood, establish a new relationship or bond, or even make a life-changing connection that jump-starts your mojo.
Be Gracious, Kind and Giving
Obviously, we should always strive to be gracious, kind and giving. However, when you’ve lost your mojo and you’re trying to get it back – focusing on generosity and kindness can really create a strong and positive sense of being.
Remember, the highest state of generosity and kindness is to give without expecting anything in return (and to do good acts anonymously whenever possible).
If you hear about a friend or neighbor who lost a job – send a VISA gift card with $50.
If you order food – double your usual tip to help support a delivery person.
If you know someone who is isolated – send them some flowers or a nice note.
Address Your Stress
Stress is a part of our lives whether we like it or not. And there is a good stress and bad stress.
Which one do you have?
Chances are – if you’ve lost your mojo – you’ve got some bad stress.
Bad stress is the feeling that you are both overwhelmed and not working towards anything you believe in or think will succeed.
Stress can be reduced by asking others to take burdens off your shoulders. It also can be reduced through physical action where your body is able to release tension.
Recognize that you may not be able to address your stress on your own. You may need help. This can prove difficult given social distancing and self-quarantines; however, you need to let people know how you are feeling so you can come up with a solution. Stress is a mojo killer.
Do Something Fun
Fun comes in many forms.
You can write a story or a poem.
Create something bright, visual and interesting with Adobe Express.
Order a home garden kit and grow some vegetables.
Take an online class or create on at Catoctin College.
Having fun is a great way to get your mojo back.
We may not be able to do ALL the fun things we want but search online for fun activities to do while you are at home.
Also remember – you are not confined to your home. We need to be careful about coming in close contact with others and what we touch. But you can still go outside. Why not wake up early and take pictures of the sunrise?
Fun can take many forms.
We were inundated with distractions before the COVID-19 coronavirus threat. Now that many of us are home, the distractions are coming at us non-stop. Between Facebook, cable news, talk radio and more – there is an endless stream of opinions and news.
The problem with all these distractions is that they drain our energy and take us away from doing what we need to do.
So, have a day (or even a block of several hours) where you remove all the distractions.
Identify a small list of your main priorities and focus in on those.
Distractions can be real mojo killers, and if we want to restore our energy they need to go.
Get Some Sunlight
Sunlight is vital to your body. It helps with digestion, food absorption, maintain your insulin balance, and generates physical and mental energy.
There are many studies that link sunlight to the promotion of stronger bones and heart, as well as improving your immunity.
So, go outdoors and absorb some sunlight each day. A little sun can do a lot of for state of mind and your body.
Improve Your Diet
Eating poorly is another mojo killer.
With supermarkets facing shortages, it can be difficult to make a lot of improvements in your diet. But it can be done.
Start small and find simple ways to improve how you eat, and gradually phase things in.
You will find a phased approach will generate better short-term and long-term results, and help you get your mojo back.
Lastly… Be Present
Woody Allen once said, “80 percent of success is showing up.”
Well, if you are in a state of self-quarantine – “showing up” has been replaced by “being present.”
That means wake-up and participate in everything you need to. Clearly, we need to manage our time and priorities, but when isolated – we can fall into the trap of self-isolating too much.
Do not allow your mood or events around you dictate your actions and life.
While showing up or being present is not a guarantee of success, it is an essential component of restoring good mojo.
Do you have steps that you take to get your mojo back? Share them in the comments section below.
- Published in COVID-19, Health and Well-Being, Motivation