Be kind and patient with each other during this difficult time.
These are unsettling times/uncertain times for some staff, which can affect individuals’ mindsets and behaviors. During this period, instead of admonishing a peer or subordinate staff when personal safety requirements are not followed, create a dialogue to better understand their reasoning. Have a questioning attitude to understand if someone is having difficulties, such as health concerns where the face covering is causing breathing difficulties. Showing some kindness and compassion can make a difference in addressing an issue particularly when the individual is uncomfortable with raising the issue to management’s attention.
Similarly, as guidance on work activities and practices are rapidly changing due to new information on the COVID-19 pandemic and California Shelter-In-Place protocols, demonstrate patience with and understanding of management decisions. These decisions are often made as external sources are providing additional guidelines in real-time. Encourage others to be patient and understanding during this learning period. Some activities and processes are being created and used for the first time, and will not always be perfect. “We are all in this together” and everyone is doing the best they can to respond appropriately and in the best interest of Laboratory staff and the Laboratory’s mission.
Form “Healthy Habits”
It takes some time to adjust to changes and behaviors to form a new habit. Laboratory employees are accustomed to working collaboratively in groups and in close proximity to each other. Social distancing and wearing face-covering are new practices, and in some situations, require reinforcement to become second nature. Reinforcement could be daily reminders/feedback to strengthen these new behaviors.
The new online training reinforces healthy habits. The focus group participants described the training as well done and extremely beneficial, particularly, with walking employees through many scenarios that employees will encounter on their first day back onsite. The training acknowledged that there may be instances where the 6 feet-rule may not be possible to adhere to, such as in stairwells or long corridors. The training provides direction on addressing these common “rule-breaking” scenarios and reminds employees that there will be conditions where creativity will be required.