19 April 2020

Managing Stress In Ever-Changing Situations: Tips for HR and L&D

Talent Development



A crisis can create stress, be it your own stress, your employee’s stress or even at an organizational level. When the rules, situation and advice feel like it changes on a daily basis, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Kerstin Brenner collaborated with us to review how to manage such situations and what actions can be taken.

Understanding your triggers and reactions

  • It is important to manage your stress effectively, to avoid it impacting others. Doing so avoids a negative working environment.
  • Make a note of what makes you feel stressed and try to identify why that is.
  • Negative thoughts can easily shape the way that we project ourselves, so list the things that currently concern you.
  • What things are you missing during the current lockdown?
  • What are the needs behind the things you are currently missing? Look at how you can meet these needs in the current changing environment there is now.

Techniques for managing stress for yourself

  • Make a point of taking time to be active. If you are restricted in doing this, find activities that you can do at home that get your heart rate up and your blood flow circulating.
  • Don’t forget to breathe. Scientists have proven that just two minutes of focused breathing helps provide a sense of relaxation and calmness.
  • Tackle things daily with a single-minded focus. Take a step-by-step approach to avoid feeling overwhelmed and to ensure that you are present and managing the things that you need to.
  • Reviewing what you don’t have and then considering what you can have instead. This is a gentle reminder that other opportunities exist and not all is negative.
  • Assess what you still have, as this provides a sense of gratitude.
  • Look at the strengths that you have, for example.
  • Manage expectations to avoid a deep sense of stress. If you say yes to a particular demand, review what you need to decline politely.
Further reading

How to prevent stress as a manager

  • Encourage teams to connect informally – coffee break, “water cooler” meetup, daily check-in.
  • Acknowledge the challenges that some of your team members may be having, e.g. working from home with children, poor health, etc.
  • Encourage employees to move their bodies, especially when they are working all day.
  • Encourage single-minded focus, so that your employees also stay centered on critical tasks and objectives.
  • Allow for rest, internal and external recovery.
  • Practice and promote factual, need-based communication – NVC (non-violent communication).
  • Introduce mindfulness breaks – hourly handwashing and inner cleaning. Find out more here: https://www.heartfulnessinstitute.org/

How to prevent organizational stress

  • Ensure that there is a clear framework, as it helps employees to have less stress.
  • Redefine the new organization, underlining that it is temporary.
  • Take into account parents who have children at home, people on sick leave into the re-organization.
  • Define tasks, roles clearly and shared competencies.
  • Transparent vision, clear communication.
  • Ask for feedback, suggestions and co-creation.
  • It is best to share an overall vision to your teams regarding how you or your business will handle
  • things in times when there is change.
  • Authenticity and transparency are crucial and having open communication regarding what the near future looks like will help settle some unease.
  • Remind teams that you are all in this together

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