Video transcript - Addressing workplace violence during challenging times



Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is there one specific stress that dominates all other stressors? And if so, then let's focus on dealing with that and we can deal with the rest afterwards. What we found is that the stressors week over week, day over a day were rotating. We saw that there was this compounding aspect of these stressors. And they weren't necessarily going away. The intensity of those stressors.

At the same time when we generally see increases in stress, we would like to see increases in positive coping mechanisms to start to balance that out. Then those positive coping mechanisms in many cases are family, friends, doing things on the weekend, or others. Those are the things that we normally did just to relax and unwind a bit. In this case, not only did we have the compounding stressors, but we had a general loss of our normal coping mechanisms.

We also went through an emergency virtualization process. None of us necessarily wanted to or and now many, many may want to continue to do it they like doing this. This sort of virtual work from home type of environment. And that created some pretty significant challenges as well. We ended up having to become self-sufficient in many aspects of our lives at scale.

Economic impacts. We know that when things start to become difficult economically we start to see things like housing become a concern-- housing insecurity, food insecurity. When we start to see those things layer upon each other. Things like housing insecurity we know from research has a direct relationship to things like domestic violence to things like drug abuse. We know that that insecurity creates some challenges. Food insecurity-- we know for every percentage that food insecurity goes up-- every 1%-- we see a roughly 12% increase in crime.

The compounding stressors are creating situations that we didn't necessarily see, or they're enhancing or accelerating trends that we were seeing before the pandemic. So there are some direct relationships to the level and types of stresses that we're seeing and the potential outcomes, especially as it relates to violence.

What can you start to think about certainly as more organizations are bringing people back into the offices, return to occupancy-- and occupancy numbers are increasing. What kinds of things should we start to put in place to include not just the COVID-19 safety and health measures that we're going to need to address, but what are some of the other services and some of the other things that we should be focused on as people come back in knowing these stressors are still present?

So what to do and a potential threat. One, are we recognizing that the threat is there? And that's one of the first challenges. Are we recognizing that an individual is showing some indicators? Red flags in many cases, you'll hear them referred to. Or some indicators that they are in a hostile, aggressive state or leaning towards potentially conducting some act of violence.

The other two are really more of an awareness. One, is how do you identify-- and whether it's mental health, first aid, or other types of training that could be given to organizations and employees to help each other recognize when somebody is struggling with something? And how do we approach, and what kinds of things can we say to help that person, or navigate that person and help them to go get additional support?

The other is hostility management and de-escalation. So can we train employees-- and in many cases the training is an hour or two hours. But we're starting to do more and more training towards an individual is approaching, they are showing those signs and symptoms. They're aggressive, they're hostile. It appears that they're going to take that next step. What can you say? What can you do to, one, improve your security as an individual and hopefully begin to de-escalate that individual allowing them to express whatever it is they're expressing at that moment in time without becoming more aggressive, more violent, and hopefully reducing that overall level of stress for that individual? All of those are options that can be considered as you bring more people back in.