By Christopher Morin | April 28, 2020

Like many organizations across the globe and here in the United States, life has changed. Six weeks ago, office life for all of us here at Cook Ross was busy. We were busy planning internal meetings and designing new products and services for our customers. And as a department lead, I was helping our current clients with requests for our digital products and reviewing my budget goals. My staff was following up on customer requests, building spreadsheets with data, and coordinating interdepartmental tasks.

Our energy was focused on our signature subscription product, CultureVision, a tool that helps patient-facing healthcare workers better understand the cultural patterns of patients who come from demographics different from their own. We were scheduling time with healthcare organizations to demonstrate how the tool could help them gain insights and ask culturally aware questions of their patients.

And then the pandemic struck. Our work on CultureVision went into high gear. We focused on helping healthcare workers, immersed in triaging patients, understand how their biases might influence excruciatingly difficult health care choices. During these times it is vitally important to understand how bias mitigation strategies are critical for healthcare workers feeling unusual amounts of pressure to act fast and treat overwhelming numbers of patients.

Like our customers in the healthcare space, we at Cook Ross have come together. We have revamped our emergency management policy, created contingency plans and instituted innovative working arrangements. And we continue to do the best that we can every day for each other while trying to do our part to slow the ravages of the pandemic.

During these times it is vitally important to understand how bias mitigation strategies are critical for healthcare workers feeling unusual amounts of pressure to act fast and treat overwhelming numbers of patients. Click To Tweet

I believe that like all crises, we will eventually come through this, maybe later, rather than sooner— especially if we practice all of the things that the CDC and other government agencies are recommending (social distancing, staying at home, washing hands often, etc.). These practices will help stem the tide and “flatten the curve.” This struggle may be long and drawn out as this unforgiving illness, with its unpredictable circumstances, persists and continues to come into our homes and offices. But eventually, we will prevail. At least that is a conclusion that gives me comfort.

The thought that I continue to ponder is—how do we prepare for life after this pandemic is over? Learning is key. We will need to continue to strive for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) with healthcare tools like CultureVision, and Inclusive Leadership and Disrupting Everyday Bias education.  As we leave our home offices and return to the organizations that we are a part of, we need to pay attention to how our fast brain may take over. The need for more deliberate thinking leading to less suspicion and more compassion will be critical. Interactions we’ve grown to believing are normal have changed, at least for now. Social Distancing may be the norm for months to come, and handshaking may be delayed or even disappear in our societal interactions. We simply cannot go back to the way it was before; we must learn to connect with our hearts and maybe someday soon with hugs and handshakes.

One thing is for sure—as a company and a society, we will be different. We will have defeated the virus either through social health changes or medical changes, or both. When it ends, we will have changed in many ways, perhaps how we treat each other, how we conduct training, and even if only for a brief time, how we greet friends and family.

As an extrovert, I can’t wait to get back to being in the Cook Ross office, seeing and being with my colleagues. I miss my office routine and the camaraderie that we had. I look forward to having life go back to our new normal, because as we all know, life has changed.

When it ends, we will have changed in many ways, perhaps how we treat each other, how we conduct training, and even if only for a brief time, how we greet friends and family. Click To Tweet

Christopher Morin, Digital Products Line of Business Lead, has 15 years of experience speaking about, consulting on, and managing issues related to Diversity & Inclusion, including his work with Dr. Jane Jarrow on the American Disabilities Act; age and gender workplace topics; and harassment issues. His deep background in learning and development reflects a passion for engaging with audiences in impactful ways.

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