Reposted from my March 13, 2020 post on my personal blog, Working Mom Blogging.
I, like most others, am following the news on the Corona virus outbreak and its impact on our daily life. I am finding the more they tell me not to touch my face, the more I find myself doing it and I am using almost as much moisturizer as I am hand soap. Almost all of my in person meetings have turned into virtual meet ups and conferences are being cancelled. Sadly, people’s vacation plans are being cancelled and tourist attractions like theme parks and museums are being closed. Near and dear to my heart is Broadway, which has gone dark.
On a more personal note, my daughter and her friends are seniors in college and that exciting final stretch to graduation has gone virtual. Colleges and Universities have the best interests of their communities at heart, but to the students, it is disappointing. They have had their last rehearsals, their last classes, their last sporting events and at the time had no idea it would be their last. Such an exciting time with such a dark cloud overhead.
All of this has got me thinking about what the impacts of this outbreak could be, beyond the possibility of contracting the illness. Mainly I have been thinking about the impact on mental health. During the crisis, many people, particularly those in high risk categories, those quarantined or even those who are forced to work from home even if that’s not their normal preference, could be suffering from social isolationism. They are missing their daily coffee chats or lunch with friends or even just a wave in the hallway. This could lead to depression in many. So in addition to washing our hands and staying home if we are sick, we should be reaching out to check on them. Just because they don’t have the virus doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering. Human connection even if its a phone call, a skype message or a facetime chat could make all the difference in their day.
I then started thinking about the longer term impacts. This crisis will end, but we don’t know when. People are facing changes and uncertainties that are unprecedented. These can cause anxiety today and when things do return to normal (and I believe they will), there will likely be more changes and impacts. Will this new age of open and shared workspaces begin to cause anxiety in the workforce and will we see organizations shifting back to assigned desks or even more radically, will we see even more organizations shifting to a remote workplace culture? Will people suffer from an increase in social anxiety as they wonder if there will be a new communicable life threatening disease? Will how we greet one another change forever as a result? Will the handshake become a thing of the past and a simple wave the new form of greeting? I don’t know the answer to these questions, but what I do know is there will be lasting impacts.
As I was thinking of these things, a friend of mine shared a video her organization had just completed that looks at the impact of the Corona Virus on our own unconscious biases. Now I know we all have unconscious bias, I have taken the PDT training and I try to be hyper aware of what mine might be. That said, this had not occurred to me. Well, there is a learning opportunity in everything. Take a few minutes to watch the video and reflect on your own perceptions as it relates to the virus. Then think about how that lesson could apply to other unconscious biases you may have. Thanks Julie Lynch, Angela Peacock, and PDT Global for the timely lesson.
#coronavirus #mentalhealth #coronabias #bias #officebias #digitallearning #inclusionnotexclusion #inclusion