The Effect of Post-Pandemic Crisis Culture at Work

Even though the threat of the pandemic has significantly declined, our minds (and bodies) could still be operating in a panic or crisis state. This high-state of stress is playing out the most in our relationship to how we work.

I know, there are real deadlines and time pressures, but everything isn’t an emergency all of the time. However for many, our work culture and personal relationship to working is making us feel this way.

It’s a normal human response to react to crisis by being: frantic, impatient, rushed, tense and increased urgency. However, if your self-care doesn’t signal to your mind (and body)that you are ok and safe, your nervous system can get stuck in a hyper-aroused or stress state, even after the stress has been alleviated.

The first step to being able to strike a balance in this new work-life culture has to begin with discerning a crisis from a non-crisis situation. Once you can accurately discern the playing field, you can better play the game.

How to Balance Crisis Work Culture (& Mindset):

  1. Intervene on Constant Interruptions– Expecting or allowing constant interruptions makes it impossible to work effectively and also exacerbates the perception of urgency and panic. Instead: Try scheduling hours of availability for others and limiting unscheduled tasks and conversations.
  2. Stop Rushing– When You see others rushing around non-stop, it creates the perception that you are lazy if you don’t do the same. Remind yourself that the tortoise (not the hare) wins the race. Give yourself breaks and eat lunch. Work Smarter over harder.
  3. Set realistic timelines- When individuals don’t take the time to self-regulate they reach for comfort through control. Even if that means making arbitrary demands for work others have to do. If you can create realistic timelines and communicate them, it will help others too.
  4. Discern between Urgency and Emergency- Urgency is something that has an immediate timeline. Emergency is something that has an immediate timeline AND is also potentially harmful, fatalistic or cataclysmic if not acted on immediately
  5. Schedule When You Respond to Emails — If you respond to all messages as they come in, you are constantly interrupting yourself. Self-interruption is distracting and sends the message to yourself that your work is less important. Consider scheduling time to check email even if it’s a block of time every hour. Second, communicate your email schedule to those you work with.

If you like this, stay tuned for more!