Right now, COVID-19 feels like a major, had-to-pull-off-the-side-of-the-road car breakdown for businesses across the country.  No one expects or plans for a car accident when they embark on their trip, which is a good thing, but (ahem) stuff happens.  So for all of us, that pesky ‘Check Engine’ light has flipped on.  Or even worse, we are part of a 20 car pileup in the middle of Waco, TX (no, I don’t have PTSD..) So what now?

Our natural response will be to perform the diagnosis to identify what is wrong.  The tire is flat, or the battery died.  We see the airbags discharged or the broken taillights.  Our instinct is to fix what we see on the outside; and then continue on as best we can.  The problem is that if we only fix the visible problems, we might start down the road again without actually being safe.  

In your company today, you can see the visible injuries – things like furloughs, lay-offs, or a reduction in hours; or maybe the physical demands of working in non-optimal settings.  But if you just focus on solving those problems, you may be missing half the battle. 

Reports are that as many as 30% of our employees could be affected by PTSD from Covid-19. They have suffered trauma from the fear for their health and their financial security as well as constant levels of stress and for many people loneliness. Anxiety was at an all-time high before COVID-19; where do you think it is now? 

Our employees are going to go through three phases over the next 18 months.  The first is the crisis right now, the second will be recovery and re-building, and the 3rd will be a return back to a new normal.  Each of these stages will have different impacts on our employee’s emotional health, and the symptoms will be varied and hard to recognize.