Killing over 4,500 Africans in West Africa, the Ebola epidemic continues to send shock waves and frenzy as it recently touched American soil.
Even though two nurses are in stable condition, and the virus seems pretty contained, many Americans are still very afraid.
Schools are sending children home, and employees are reluctant to report to work. While the fear is very palpable and understandable, a plan to diminish fears must be employed in order to help others move through this time. There are many ways to address the Ebola scare with your workers. Consider using these different tactics in order to help put their minds at ease.
Addressing the Ebola Scare with Your Workers
On-staff support and information
Many members of the general public are very misinformed when it comes to dealing with Ebola, including those at your company. It is important to make sure that the staff is well-informed. They need to know the facts about the virus including how to contract it and how it travels. In addition, if people are still very frightened, consider the facilitation of a staff support group with a counselor or psychotherapist.
There is strength in numbers. It helps puts others at ease when they know their fears are shared and totally natural. If in-staff support isn’t available (or, frankly, necessary) for your employees, addressing the facts with your workers at a group meeting would be a wise decision.
The big picture
President Obama reminded American citizens about how more people die from the flu on a yearly basis as opposed to those who’ve died from Ebola. There is one known American death due to the Ebola virus. There are thousands of Americans who’ve died from the flu.
The flu season comes every single year, and while many die from the flu, many people work through the symptoms and return to a clean bill of health. To help keep everything in the right perspective, remind workers of the statistics and how low the likelihood of contracting Ebola is.
Obviously, healthcare professionals will have different procedures to follow from those in professions outside of the medical field. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to update the protocol for workers dealing with patients with Ebola. When treating Ebola patients, it is imperative for workers to cover their skin.
Workers must wear bio-hazard suits. It is no mystery that there were a few mistakes that went against CDC protocol when workers dealt with the Dallas patient with the Ebola virus. Mistakes are extremely dangerous, so it is critical for workers to take all the necessary precautions and follow protocol to the letter. This step is not only for the safety of all involved, but also brings peace of mind.
As a leader, it is your job to understand how fear and uncertainty affect your people and be the person who helps calm those fears. Having the right information at the right time and disseminating it carefully is not only a smart thing to do, it is also your responsibility.
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Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
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