by Ben Buckley, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Manager on Apr 15, 2020
It is not an exaggeration to say that current events have introduced leadership teams to unforeseen challenges. We are truly in unprecedented times. In my role at Rogers Corporation, I oversee our Human Resources, Environmental Health & Safety and Communications functions: three areas that are extremely busy at a time like this.
When the unexpected happens, the first thought is concern for our employees and how this will affect their lives. Quickly, our teams were presented with changes and challenges that transformed the way we work. Like many companies, our office employees transitioned into working remotely. Our manufacturing teams are reporting to work, continuing to support many essential industries that Rogers serves, such as healthcare, telecommunications infrastructure and food safety.
As an organization, our initial priorities are safety and taking care of our employees – and ultimately, I am responsible for these areas. The Rogers leadership team has leaned on our Cultural Behaviors (link) as guiding principles, including to Live Safely, Just Decide and Speak Openly. We are making quick decisions and being transparent in our communications with all employees, prioritizing their health and safety at each step. We have lots of information going to our teams from multiple channels and this commitment to transparency and consistency enables these messages to be effective.
Personally, I am also actively working to stay positive and focused. It is difficult to have our routines upended and to find a new normal. To help with that, I’m making sure to follow a few self-imposed rules:
I know that each day will present difficult challenges and decisions, so I want to be sure to start out with a good attitude. This can be a morning workout, taking advantage of the opportunity to eat breakfast with my family now that we are all at home for the short-term or even starting the day with a feel-good wake up song (a personal favorite is Birdhouse in Your Soul by They Might be Giants).
It is easy to get wrapped up working in the comfort of your own home, especially when you don’t have to walk from meeting to meeting or leave the office to get lunch. Whether I take the dog for a walk or take a moment to check-in with my family, I make sure to prioritize at least a few minutes to recharge, reset and refocus.
The 24-hour news cycle provides constant coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. In my role, it is important to stay informed, but I do not want to overwhelm myself or my family members with too much repeating information that can turn to fear. Listen to learn updates, filter that information and then disconnect until new information is available. I tend to check-in early in my workday, in the afternoon and then once in the evening so that I am prepared for the next day.
I choose to see this new normal as an opportunity to spend more time at home with my family and pets. However, I miss my work connections. Running into a coworker in the hallway can result in a great idea that turns into a great plan. I make a point to maintain contact with my team to keep that line of communication open, especially while we are remote.
How do you stay positive and focused in the current environment?