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April 11, 2012
Prepare Your Employees for Stress of the NATO Summit
Loyola University Health System Occupational Health Expert Offers Plan
MAYWOOD, Ill. – In a few weeks the eyes of the world will be on Chicago as representatives from 28 countries attend the NATO Summit. In addition to dignitaries and staff, many protesters are planning to come to let their voices be heard in an international spotlight. Large crowds and passionate exchanges of ideals can create a stressful environment for those who work in areas near the summit meetings.
“Businesses need to start planning for surprises that might accompany the NATO summit by training their employees. Simple communication tips can help keep your employees and your business safe,” said Dr. Mary Capelli-Schellpfeffer, director of Occupational Health at Loyola University Health System.
She offers a 3-step plan to help business owners and managers equip employees for handling potentially high-stress situations.
Crowded transportation, demanding customers and hassles at local restaurants can all contribute to conflict. This can affect our blood pressure, sleep, focus and technical skills. Employees who are coached to be calm in the face of rudeness, delays or heated conversations are more likely to focus on de-escalating their own reactions to a possible dispute. They also are less likely to commit an error, mistake or accident.
Visualize, don’t verbalize
Ensure that communication is as easy as possible. Since this is a global summit there will be people speaking a number of languages. If your company has specific instructions for purchasing an item or service, it might be best to create “language-free” visual directions. For instance, if your store sells shoes and customers are required to wear a foot stocking or sock while trying on a pair, use a picture or graphic to show this. Cross-cultural messages are less likely to be experienced as disrespectful. Better yet, employees can complete more sales when there isn’t a communications roadblock.
Spoken and physical threats can raise one’s blood pressure and lead to feelings of sickness, stress or fearfulness. Whenever possible, choose peaceful words and approaches to direct employees in their assignments. Try to keep the environment quiet by asking co-workers not to shout or bang the door. Finally, monitor problem-solving around customer complaints to ensure that staff have adequate privacy to hear the expressed concern without giving an audience to behavior that may be disruptive.
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Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.