Crisis management specialists advise sharper focus on staff wellbeing to avoid issues from isolation

08th Apr

Directors of East Yorkshire-based Agencia are also highlighting the importance of breaking down the approach to dealing with coronavirus issues into small steps and of maintaining a patient and ethical stance.
Helen Gibson, managing director of Agencia, said: “We are all facing some very different and difficult decisions but the constant for all of us is how we can best manage the crisis with the aim of riding the storm and coming out of the other side.
“There are lots of themes and models on the internet but what we want to do is share from our own experience of some of the things we think can help people now.”
Richard Wood, the company’s director of justice, policing and security, said: “This is a moment in everybody’s lives where we all will feel some form of disorientation and people will handle it differently. We are all trying to cope with something we don’t understand.”
Agencia, which is based in Hessle, works to help governments get to grips with challenges including pandemic disease, terrorism, corruption, war crimes and modern slavery. The company has delivered more than 450 contracts in more than 20 countries, along the way earning the accolade of Best Small Business in the UK at the National Family Business Awards followed by appointment by the Department of International Trade as a Northern Powerhouse Export Champion.
With experience from health and justice projects as far afield as Kenya and Kosovo plus a UK-based service, Primary Care Direct, which provides mission-critical support to GPs, pharmacists and other health professionals, Agencia is now delivering advice to businesses hit by coronavirus with a series of free webinars.
Broken down into top 10 tips, the first event looked at crisis management in a pandemic, with the second addressing leadership, resilience and self-care. On Tuesday, April 14, the Agencia team will focus on uncertainty in a pandemic and the fourth session on Tuesday, April 21, will explore countering internet fraud in a pandemic.
Participants signing up for the sessions have included managers from NHS organisations, local authorities and private businesses with Agencia’s international dimension reflected by involvement from Serbia, Bosnia, Ethiopia, Uganda and Ghana.
A particular area of concern that emerged in questions following both events so far was around people who are finding themselves working from home for the first time.
Richard highlighted Agencia’s own approach in organising a virtual tea party as a tactic that can bring subtle benefits.
He said: “It’s difficult when people are working remotely which is why it’s more important that you take time out to communicate with your teams a little bit more often than you would normally. You want to be in touch with them.
“During the tea party we didn’t really talk about work but it allowed us to keep in touch with people in the team and it gave us an opportunity to see how people are coping.”
Helen said: “Agencia has a large team of experienced professionals with strategic, policy and technical competence. They cover several professions that are likely to be dramatically affected by the consequences of coronavirus and, in this time of crisis, we know a lot of people will be stepping up to take on new and challenging leadership and management roles. We know how lonely that role can be, and we know what it is like to make difficult decisions.
“We are sharing our ideas by presenting free advice which is practical and in a short and sweet format, and the response has been very positive with many people who participated in the first event returning for the next one. We’re hoping to build on that with the remaining two sessions and we’ll consider adding some more after that.”

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