We hope, that despite the Covid-19 health crisis and this second wave, you are all well and that you and your teams have been coping as well as possible under these circumstances. Since the beginning of the pandemic TransitionKit has been active supporting you.
We have rethought how we work together, from home or the office and had the time to rethink the way we interact with each other.
We were warned by the specialists that the 4th quarter of 2020 could or would bring a rise of the pandemic. The scientists were correct. There was no magic wand to make it go away.
Now we need to adapt again and learn to live with Covid-19 as case numbers are rising and coping with the new health safety regulations most countries have put in place again after the “summer break”.
We, at TransitionKit, are very concerned about the increase of people in distress who will face new and unforeseen challenges such as the loss of a family member or other person, loss of jobs, financial and relationship problems, increase in abuse and substance abuse to name just a few of the problems on the rise.
In order to accompany you and ensure that stress is reduced, and that good decisions are taken, we have created a series of interactive webinars that we invite you to checkout. The content of our webinar is evolving as the pandemic continues.
Our team of psychologists and consultants are here to support you and your teams.
Our goal is to make the contact as human as possible, that’s why we need to be in vocal contact.
So, act today by contacting us to set up a webinar with us and assess together how we can support you.
Today I want to introduce you to the COVID EMOTIONAL LOOPS graph which is the follow-up of my COVID EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER published in March. We hoped for one loop only. We were warned and the scientists were right… (collective denial). The current loop is scarier than the first loop from my vantage point of Geneva, Switzerland.
Now, most of the world is currently re-confined.
We are all experiencing the second wave of COVID-19. Some experts are saying there may be a third wave, more loops…
Where I live it’s fall, the leaves have turned to beautiful colors, they are falling off the trees. It’s getting colder. People are anxious, worried and some are depressed. Businesses are going bankrupt. Many have lost their jobs or will soon. We are collectively in a psychologically very difficult state of mind and many of us are having a hard time coping with reconfinement.
Quoting Dr Matthieu Poirot- Midori Consulting: the first confinement was “exceptional”, whereas now the reconfinement has a very different taste of “déjà vu”.
November and December are always risky months in our hemisphere where days are getting shorter and it is more difficult to be outside because of the weather conditions.
Now, with major worldwide confinement it’s even worse. We have had no time to really recover.
As the French newspaper Liberation titled: “melancovid” meaning the Covid-19 is making us anxious and depressed.
Therefore, it is urgent to take care of ourselves, our families, our employees, everyone.
Companies should be urgently putting support and prevention measures in place such as interactive webinars, support programs, long term working from home support, taking care of staff when a colleague facing difficulties.
This roller coaster seems to be never ending. Life is about cycles and we go from highs and lows
TransitionKit and our partners are ready to support you and your teams.
Once again thank you for taking the time to read my weekly article. I know many of my 1st circle “LinkedInners” are out there reading and liking, sharing and commenting my articles. Thank you. To those of you reading and enjoying the read please let me know by liking, sharing and commenting.
When I posted my first Covid-19 article named COVID-19: The Confinement Roller Coaster Wave, my fantastic business partner Cyrille Gay chose an amazing picture of a roller coaster in black and white. I did not know at the time, that this image would become our trademark image throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
Where we live, summer is in the air and we would like to think it is vacation time.
We would like to be able to just enjoy the nice warm weather and relax. However, our minds are still focused on the work that needs to be done.
TransitionKit takes care of companies and their employees. Our interactive webinars focus on understanding the psychological impact Covid-19 has on employees and organisations. They are designed to accompany staff and management.
In our experience work from home resulted in closer relationships between employees with more empathy for example which came as a surprise for many of us. What also surprised our participants is that in the vast majority of cases, the list of positives was much longer than the list of negatives.
Positives most often cited are: more time at home, no commuting, better performance for those with good networks and no child care issues. For those with small children obviously the work/life balance was more difficult to cope with, realising the job was right, the environment was not (that could also be under negatives.)
Negatives most often named are: too many video conferences and too long (in one company six-hour video conference without breaks, unfair monitoring in companies lacking trust in their employees), companies not prepared for the work at home transition.
Keep, most wishes from the confinement period are the fact that many enjoyed the working from home experience and would want to be able to continue working from home for part of their time. They often mentioned the fact that spending more time with family and namely with children was a positive experience.
What employees say about the life they would like to Return to the most in post Covid-19 at work, is being physically at work (balanced with teleworking), spending time with colleagues and clients. They often mentioned how much they missed the social side of their lives.
Those unhappy at work noted for example how much they became aware that the job they are doing is great, but the environment is wrong. Several of our candidates are now looking for new jobs. They came to realise that their health and mental health problems had to do with their job. Several candidates said “when I go back to the office I come home with a headache” or “my stomach problems flared up again”, one HR professional could not cope with how her company was treating and firing staff during the Pandemic. She accelerated her own job search with our assistance and has just signed a new contract. Several of our candidates transitioned during Covid-19 with interviews via video conferencing for which we specifically trained them.
As Matthieu Poirot argues, to manage efficiently companies should consider their employees experience to co-create viable, efficient, productive and healthy work environments.
If you have concluded that your job is ok but the company philosophy is not, it may be the right time to act and consider a program with TransitionKit to plan your move. Be proactive, get ready to move. Know your options. Don’t stick your head in the sand but rather take a long view. Life is too short and valuable to spend up to 40 or more of your working hours per week with people whose values and philosophy you do not share. Should your company be planning a downsizing you should be preparing yourself proactively.
Let us support you to avoid being taken by surprise.
Covid-19 is creating havoc. We are all reading about anxiety, depression, PTSD and other psychological symptoms.
If you need professional help, do get in touch with your MD first. If you don’t have a GP reach out to a professional helpline, a trained psychologist or psychiatrist.
Remember, a psychologist has full university training and a psychiatrist is a medical doctor, who in many countries is allowed to prescribe medication. Psychologists in most countries are not authorised to prescribe medication. Check your national authorities.
As you know from my previous Covid-19 posts, we are ALL experiencing the emotional roller coaster I presented in March (link)
It is now time to provide more useful tools to have in your toolkit to be able to cope with the emotional wave I described. I don’t want anyone to drown!
Most of you will have experienced the wave gush of emotional flooding since the beginning of the pandemic. The timeline is personal: for some it started in December following the news coming from China, for some it hit home later.
If you have been personally hit hard by the wave, I extend my thoughts to you. If you have been an onlooker to hard hits, you also get my sympathy of course.
We are ALL in this together in one way or another. So, we all need efficient tools to ride the waves to prevent going under. Positive psychology, meditation and mindfulness, are current buzz words. However, I find that in conveying them, in my opinion, something’s still missing.
I was lacking some form of understanding, which in my case prevented me from letting go and using mindfulness for example to its full extent. And let’s face, it I don’t always have the patience and time to meditate for 45 minutes per day, which when I was trained was what you were supposed to do!
Already 15 years ago, I “secretly” modified my practice in how I introduced and taught mindfulness to my candidates looking for jobs.
There was no way was I going to tell candidates, who had recently learned that they had lost their job to spend 45 minutes per day “meditating” when they had bills to pay and a job to find!
Our brain is designed to cope with life’s ups and downs: it’s an amazing 2kg blackbox which stores all the information it needs to get us through the GOOD and the BAD times.
For many of us right now, it is partially a bad time.
The Covid-19 tsunami has thrown us out of our comfort zones. Some of you have lost everything and loved ones. That is the worst-case scenario and I know it’s happening to millions of people around the world.
Some of you have lost not everything, but a lot. Your job? Your security? That is quite enough to lose in such a short time to lose ones bearing.
Some of you, on the other hand, are on the top of the wave and surfing. For sure, some people are in areas where business is thriving… some in an honest way, some maybe in shadier ways. Human nature…
Just practicing mindfulness, yoga, praying, etc. won’t bring the quick fix results you are looking for. People with years of experience sometimes get there. Right now, we need something more EFFICIENT to alleviate the anxiety, pain, fear and hurt NOW.
How D-O-S-E helps you survive?
Helps you seek rewards and motivates you to get what you need, even when it takes a lot of effort
Helps you build social alliances and motivates you to trust others, (link to trust vs mistrust) to find safety in companionship
Helps you get respect from others and motivates you to get respect, which expands your mating opportunities and protects your offspring.
Helps you ignore physical pain so you can escape from harm when you are injured.
*In Habits of a Happy Brain (L. Graziano Breuning)
You can’t see your “DOSE”, because these HORMONES are invisible to the eye, but you feel them – they are the ones responsible for your “yes I did it” feeling (dopamine), your hug and smile (Oxytocin) your happiness and confidence (Serotonin) and your boost (Endorphin)
You can learn to react more rationally (system 2) and not on the spur of the moment when they hit you (System 1 = irrationally)
Once you understand which Hormone is pulling you either to positive energy or negative energy (negative stress) you will be able to take the first step to stay calm and make rational (system 2) decisions (see link to cognitive bias article)
Last week I wrote about cognitive bias based mainly on the Kahneman’s work. Click here for the link.
Today, I share with you the literature scan I have made, digging further into the phenomenon trying to better understand the diverse human reactions I have experienced in my clients, family and friends before and during lockdown and now during the deconfinement period.
How can I trust the info that is delivered to me?
Depending on your information source, you trust your source or not because of your cognitive bias filter.
Who can you trust?
Digging into the readings, it appears that it is vital to understand the trust versus non-trust aspects of information sourcing.
Stephen Pinker, Dan Ariely and Yuval Harari share with us their understanding of Covid-19. All three of these important scholars are telling us, how influenced we all are by our different biases.
For Pinker, many of us went into “overdrive” meaning our stress (system 1) went totally out of control. Pandemics are “part of life” and not “divine coercion” as was believed in the middle ages and as some groups may still believe today. Ariely points this out, when telling us how special efforts need to be made to get certain groups of people to adhere to the necessary shutdown rules.
Steven Pinker points out that when we are sick and/or threatened by epidemics/ pandemics we tend to become more introverted, xenophobic and prone to emotional disgust
He explains that in today’s 21st century, our intellectual, cognitive system allows us to act fast. Within 2 weeks the virus’s genome had been identified, hundreds of world class scientists are working round the clock to develop vaccines. Public health care programs are being rolled out all over the world.
Steven Pinker asks why we had no well-functioning “firefighter” brigade ready. Share your thoughts or comments with us!
If I take the liberty to summarise my thoughts after having reread Pinker, Ariely, Kahneman and Harari, I would argue that the main problem today is the fight of misplaced egos of world leaders on one hand, and the scientific community on the other. And even within the scientific communities, opinions diverge.
Right now, it would appear that the population overall would listen more to the scientific leaders (system 2 rational scientists) and even more so when the political and scientific leaders act together as in Switzerland.
Steven Pinker further points out that “your political standing predicts your behavior to health measures” he adds that depending on what “tribe” you belong to, your behavior towards authority will change in the face of a crisis like Covid-19.
The very big question is how to get a large number of the population to be more rational.
Did you know that more people die from bee stings and drowning in the swimming pool for example than from terror attacks and epidemics/pandemics? Check our last week article
Our brain has a hard time to compute the exponential character of the pandemic. Somehow at the outset we had a problem to compute the numbers.
The main effort is to reduce the Fear impact which is what gets system 1 irrationality skyrocketing. An old proverb says “Fear is not a good counsellor” and in the case of Covid-19 the pictures and stories told from China and Italy at the beginning of the pandemic seem to have “frightened us to death”, making many of us, as Pinker, Ariely and Harari all say overreact. Fear induced reactions to events are often irrational.
Now it’s time for us all to “calm down and reset our brains” using our rationality.
Going back to the office is a huge step for those who went into Pinker’s “overdrive” during the crux of the crisis.
If you feel that you cannot cope and that your anxiety and stress levels are still out of control, you may want to get professional help.
It would be a shame for society and individuals to recover from Covid-19 but remain vulnerable and develop lasting psychological and somatic damage. Preventing an outburst of phobias, stress and anxiety disorders is now highly recommended.
Many companies are therefore putting in place our webinars as well as offering personalised help lines to accompany staff.
In today’s article, I share one aspect of the webinar which appears paramount to me which is the cognitive bias based on Daniel Kahneman work (with Tversky) which earned Kahneman a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (Shared with Vernon L. Smith in 2002) on the psychology of judgement and decision making and behavioural economics.
Why and how is Cognitive Bias influencing our world?
According to Wikipedia’s definition:
A cognitive bias is a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment. Individuals create their own “subjective reality” from their perception of the input. An individual’s construction of reality, not the objective input, may dictate their behavior in the world. Thus, cognitive biases may sometimes lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality.
We are totally subjective when under emergency stress. Saving lives is the prime objective.
We tend to take irrational, system 1 and not system 2, rational decisions as described by Kahneman in his book.
What are system 1 and system 2?
According to Kahneman definitions:
System 1: is fast, automatic frequent, emotional, stereotypic, unconscious.
System 2: is slow, effortful, infrequent, logical, calculating, conscious.
In essence, thinking fast and slow makes most of us realize how strongly we are influencedby our former assumptions and patterns and how little we really analyze new albeit uncomfortable data.
Our behaviour is much more influenced by the environment of the moment than we know or want.
Given the information gathered, that most of us make up our minds from, we easily understand how strongly we are influenced and how little we take the time to find reliable sources. (If we find sources we believe we can trust, which in the case of Covid-19 is a major problem given that we should be able to trust for example WHO, but given the politics can we trust WHO? What about Bill Gates? To trust or not to trust – that is the question! Many of us don’t know whom to trust (anymore?).
Studies show that people tend to trust the scientific community more than the politicians. Then again there are varying scientific communities with very different approaches. In addition to this, studies show that certain populations will trust celebrities more than politicians and the scientific community.
In summary: I am drawing our attention to the fact, that what you think is your personal analysis and judgement (system 1) needs to be seriously challenged by yourself and become a concerted (system 2) reflection. Then and only then, will you be making your own personal judgement.
My LinkedIn articles are voluntarily short teasers and non-exhaustive. On a subject as complex as our thought process I invite you to read original Kahneman articles. I also invite you to follow Olivier Sibony (HEC, Paris) in English and French
Wishing you all a great week and take care of each other,
(Thanking Cyrille Gay, my business partner for being the best sparring partner, editor and visual designer you can wish for)