On Wednesday, a protest turned into a riot as a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in broad daylight. The District is in a state of public emergency for another two weeks.
For residents of D.C., more than any other American right now, business as usual doesn’t cut it today.
So, if you haven’t already, consider the effects of yesterday’s events on your workplace: How should CEOs, HR and managers address their teams amid this ongoing moment of fear and uncertainty?
D.C.’s Tamara M. Rasberry, whose Rasberry Consulting, LLC is a consulting firm that develops strategies for DEI and belonging, with a focus on addressing mental health in the workplace, offered some advice via email.
“The actual responses will depend on the type of organization,” she said. “Let’s face it, some CEOs and HR folks were right up there at the Capitol, or at least share the same sentiments, along with many of their staff. But as far as how they SHOULD respond, I think this is a time, similar to last year following the murder of George Floyd, when we need to give folks time and space to process their thoughts and emotions.”
What that looks like in practice is offering leeway for those who need more time to process the week’s events, including those most geographically close to them.
“Understand if some people don’t feel like working today,” she said. “Understand if folks who live and/or work in the area surrounding the Capitol are particularly on edge. Understand if folks are emotional. Understand if some folks want to talk about it and some folks don’t want to talk about it at all. There is no one-size-fits-all response to something of this magnitude. The key is to have developed the type of workplace culture in which people feel comfortable expressing their concerns and have faith that their leadership supports them.”
Hundreds of thousands of DC residents had to endure a coup in their backyard today, go into curfew at 6pm, and fear for their personal safety. None of them have any representation in Congress.
— Sam Sanders (@samsanders) January 7, 2021
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