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How to Overcome “Pandemic Fatigue”
by Philippine Resources - December 16, 2020
By: Dr Carrianne Ewe, Medical Director, International SOS Philippines
The Philippines is approaching its eight-month into the COVID-19 lockdown that began in March. While it feels that we have made it through the more restrictive Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) to General Community Quarantine (GCQ), it is important to note that this ‘unseen enemy’ is likely to be around for some time.
We have adapted to our situation by the wearing of masks and face shields, limiting social gatherings and finding creative ways to connect with others in order to keep safe during this time. It is important to acknowledge that others may be finding this part of the pandemic much harder than the initial stages and may be experiencing “pandemic fatigue”.
Pandemic fatigue, as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is a natural expected reaction to sustained and unresolved adversity in people’s lives. It expresses itself as demotivation to engage in protective behaviours and to seek out information, as well as in feelings of complacency, alienation and hopelessness. The institution argues that this evolves gradually over time and is affected by the cultural, social, structural and legislative environment.
The uncertainty of how long the pandemic will last and the struggle to remain resilient is a common sentiment experienced by many at this time. “Pandemic fatigue” can affect one’s mental health and motivation to adhere to protective measures and increase risky behaviours. Supporting the workforce’s mental health and wellbeing has been a key concern for many employers in addition to the response to this public health crisis. It is widely acknowledged that an employee’s job performance and productivity can be severely affected by health issues and impact an organizations’ business resilience.
Addressing “pandemic fatigue”
Occupational Psychologist, Dr. Rachael Lewis from Birkbeck University, London has observed that while many countries have passed the “peak” of the pandemic, people have not recovered from the “pain” of the whole experience. She shared that many employees at this time may be experiencing higher levels of irritation and frustration with others than during the initial lockdown period.
In the Philippines, while the “peak” of the pandemic is yet to be determined, many employees can relate to these heightened emotions and behavioural changes. Employees had to adapt quickly to a new environment, shifting gears to work from home where communications and logistics infrastructure are not always conducive to productivity. Those who reported to work had to navigate a very limited transportation network at exorbitant prices, further adding to the stress of the situation.
The Philippines National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) revealed a significant increase in monthly hotline calls regarding depression. Numbers rose from 80 calls pre-lockdown to nearly 400 calls as documented in an article by the WHO.
Many are also worried about losing their jobs due to employee layoffs, pay cuts and closure of businesses. Employers have had to step up efforts in an unprecedented manner to support the workforce in a holistic manner.
It is critical for business leaders and employees to adopt a shared responsibility to address these challenges and ensure that the workforce stays flexible and resilient through the pandemic and beyond.
Facing the challenges of “pandemic fatigue” and building workforce resilience
Organisations who value their employees need to build a holistic workforce resilience programme where an employee’s health, safety and wellbeing are prioritised.
International SOS has been working closely with clients throughout the year from the Taal Volcano eruption to the current COVID-19 pandemic. We have provided holistic workforce resilience solutions with tailored advice for the safe return to operations, navigation of the complex COVID-19 testing environment and mental health & wellness programmes.
We have developed a range of tools like the COVID-19 website which is accessible to the public. Our International SOS Assistance App provides clients with the latest health and security situational updates in each country and is available round the clock. Our Medical & Security Directors have led webinars on practical measures and organizational best practices to tackle the ever-evolving challenges faced in this pandemic.
During the early stages of lockdown, we supported an international offshore client to ensure that their 26 employees based in the Philippines were fit to work and COVID-free before embarking on a vessel.
Our Manila Assistance Centre coordinated the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and medical support with a dedicated medic to ensure 24-hour care and attention to the crew. Counselling and medical direction was provided when 7 crew members tested positive. They were fully supported until local health authorities were able to advise next steps.
Clients in the high tech and financial industries have been helped to implement sustainable, medically led support systems for their entire workforce. This involved providing managers with regular situation updates, employee webinars on health topics and proactive outreach to employees of concern, especially those in quarantine or unwell at home.
“Pandemic fatigue” caused by various concerns affecting our personal and professional lives can be overcome with the right support structure in place. It is more important than ever before to acknowledge that successful business continuity is enabled by a healthy and resilient workforce.
Organisations are increasingly seeing the value of implementing a holistic workforce resilience programme that provides access to 24/7 health, safety and psychological support. This contributes to the stability and resilience of employees in these dynamic times, enabling them to remain productive and creative.
Simple steps to address “pandemic fatigue”:
1. Accepting negative emotions
Being honest about pent-up emotions like anxiety and uncertainty opens one up to find ways to address these reactions effectively.
2. Creating new goals
Setting achievable and enjoyable personal goals such as exercise or learning a new skill can give a positive sense of accomplishment.
3. Conserving emotional resources
Employees should take time out from work to prioritise self-care. Small breaks even if just to relax at home or spend time with loved ones is beneficial. Managers need to lead by example and encourage a delineation of on and off duty schedules.
4. Being kind to themselves
Employees should recognise that it is okay to have both good and bad days. Instead of focusing on the negatives, acknowledge and celebrate achievements.
5. Asking for help
Almost everyone has experienced some level of stress during this period. Seek support from mental health professionals via the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) or clinic and recognize the benefits of reaching out early before burn out.
Dr Carrianne Ewe
Medical Director, International SOS Philippines
Dr Carrianne Ewe is the Medical Director of International SOS Philippines where she oversees Medical Services and Health Consulting projects. She works closely with the Manila Assistance Centre to address the medical concerns of clients and their employees as they navigate the complex COVID-19 environment.
About the International SOS Group of Companies
The International SOS Group of Companies is in the business of saving lives, protecting your global workforce from health and security threats. Wherever you are, we deliver customised health, security risk management and wellbeing solutions to fuel your growth and productivity. In the event of extreme weather, an epidemic or a security incident, we provide an immediate response providing peace of mind. Our innovative technology and medical and security expertise focus on prevention, offering real-time, actionable insights and on-the-ground quality delivery. We help you meet compliance reporting needs for good governance. By partnering with us, organisations can fulfil their Duty of Care responsibilities, while empowering business resilience, continuity and sustainability.
Founded in 1985, the International SOS Group is trusted by 12,000 organisations, including the majority of the Fortune Global 500, multi-national corporate clients and mid-size enterprises, governments, educational institutions and NGOs. 10,000 multi-cultural medical, security and logistics experts stand with you to provide support & assistance from over 1,000 locations in 85 countries, 24/7, 365 days.
To protect your workforce, we are at your fingertips: www.internationalsos.com
Philippine Resources - December 14, 2020
Gold BCR (GBCR): Blockchain Technologies with Junior Mining Companies
Gold BCR (GBCR): Building an empire of enduring wealth based on innovative blockchain technologies with junior mining companies. In this new era, modern science and innovation technologies are changing rapidly every day. Innovative new disruptive technologies ideas in mining are now meeting together with blockchain. These new disruptive technologies such as blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, new online retail, big data, social media, sharing economy, financial technology, convenience applications have all begun to come in succession, bringing a trend of dynastic change. Driven by innovation these new economic development models have shaped the way we are living life today which has been dominated by the internet industry. Every time a disruptive technology emerges, there will be markets that will shake as the change occurs and new economic models will supersede old economic models. As the saying goes "the fittest shall survive". No matter big, small and medium-sized enterprises, they must stay innovative and face the harsh test of economic changes and adapt, and only then "survive and thrive."The great inventor, Thomas Edison once said: “science needs imagination, and innovation is the key to invention.” Planes and high-speed trains have realized the exaggerated imagination of our ancestors that “a thousand miles will be travelled to and fro in one day". The invention of video communication that seems like travel through time and space, so that people can be” as close as neighbours” even if they are thousands of miles apart. In this modern era, if we can combine centuries-old traditional industries with science and technology, and add innovative ideas, everything may become a reality.Gold BCR - (GBCR) is the world's first blockchain mining project to be backed by real gold from mining companies in Australia and is looking for other miners who may be interested in collaborating in PNG and the Philippines. For More Information, go online to www.goldbcr.io
Philippine Resources - February 28, 2019
Hinatuan Mining Corporation (NAC-HMC) turns over Soft-shell Crab Project
Nickel Asia Corporation - Hinatuan Mining Corporation (NAC-HMC), represented by ComRel Manager Antonio B. Resuera Jr., has turned over soft-shell crab project to three (3) indigent families of its host community last November 27, 2018. The project location is at Looc, Sitio Bagong Silang, Barangay Talavera, Tagana-an, Surigao del Norte. Beneficiaries of the said project are Rosita G. Sandico, Cristine C. Baguinaon and Arnulfo C. Copag Sr. They were selected as beneficiaries of the project based on the Local Socio-Economic Profile conducted earlier as part of the commitment of NAC-HMC to contribute to a brighter future for its people and its communities. The beneficiaries are also not part of any People’s Organization (POs) in the host community. Rosita G. Sandico and Cristine C. Baguinaon reside in Looc, Sitio Bagong Silang while Arnulfo C. Copag Sr. lives at Brgy. Talavera.“Nagpasalamat kami sa amoa nadawat na proyekto gikan sa livelihood program sa NAC-HMC. Daku namo na kalipay ug kinasing-kasing namo nga pagadawaton kining proyekto nga soft-shell crab project”, (we are thankful for receiving this project from the livelihood program of NAC-HMC. We are very happy and are wholeheartedly accepting the soft-shell crab project awarded to us) said Rosita G. Sandico.She further added that, “daku kini na katabang alang kanamo, ilabi na sa among panginabuhian, ilabi na sa akoa na senior citizen na man. Nalipay kaau ko kay isa ako sa nakadawat ani na proyekto. Amo gajud kani ampingan ug palambuan aron aduna kami mapanginuhaan alang sa among panginabuhi. Sa maka usab, daghan salamat sa inyo tabang kanamo NAC-HMC” (This is a big help to us, especially on our livelihood, especially to me who is already a senior citizen. I am very happy to be selected as one of the project recipients. In return, we will try our best to take care and develop the project in order for it to be sustainable and become a steady source of income for our livelihood. Once again, I am very thankful for the help you have given us NAC-HMC).Representative of Host and Neighboring Communities (RHNC) Chairwoman and Brgy. Talavera Councilor Eulita C. Borja who was also present during the turn-over ceremony reminded the project recipients to not take for granted the project provided by NAC-HMC, saying that, “to the project recipients, please take care of the project provided by NAC-HMC as it will be helpful to your livelihood.”She was also thankful to NAC-HMC for the support it provided the residents of the host community particularly in livelihood, “Thank you for the help and for the care you have shown to the residents by helping them with livelihood projects such as this, thank you NAC-HMC for the support.”Additional supplies for the care and maintenance of the soft-shell crab project were also provided by NAC-HMC to project beneficiaries to help ensure the success and sustainability of the project. As part of the commitment of NAC-HMC to assist its host community, technical experts from the City Agriculturists Office (CAGRO) of Tagum City were also tapped for the project’s implementation. They were also the ones who helped in establishing the soft-shell and crab fattening pilot projects in the mine site of NAC-HMC.
Philippine Resources - September 06, 2019
GHD opens new office in the Philippines
Gracing the opening of GHD’s third office in the Philippines are Darren Shrives, General Manager – Philippines, Steven Robinson, AO, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, and Ian Fraser, General Manager – Asia Pacific.“As we head towards 75 years of formal diplomatic ties, we continue to strengthen the deep and broad connections between Australia and the Philippines,” Steven said. The new office is located in Quezon City, a rapidly growing business hub located north of the Philippine capital, Metro Manila.Darren shares, “Quezon City is home to many of our key clients in the Philippines, so our proximity to them helps us collaborate better. Aside from this, our new office forges our commitment to provide a better and more accessible workplace to our staff.”GHD’s local teams worked on the biophilic design of the new office. It is has approximately 120 working stations, four meeting rooms, and several collaboration areas. Aside from encouraging staff to interact freely within the area, the overall design of the new office has an "outdoor" feel, as evident in the textures/elements of its interiors.
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Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021
DPWH says BGC-Ortigas Bridge to Open in June
The Bonifacio Global City (BGC)-Ortigas Bridge will open on June 12, said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). “Our target opening is on June 12, Independence Day. Motorists will be able to use the bridge next month,” DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said in a video posted on Facebook during his inspection of the project on Thursday. The bridge would connect the business districts of BGC and Ortigas, cutting travel time from an hour to just 12 minutes. He also said that the bridge is now 81% complete. "The entrance of the bridge is at Kalayaan (Avenue) and the exit is at Fairlane in Ortigas," he added. It will be able to accommodate about 50,000 cars a day when it is finished. “Next month on Independence Day, watch out for the delivery, the opening of the BGC-Ortigas Pasig Bridge,” Villar said. The government's PHP1.793 billion development programme is part of a plan to decongest Epifanio de Los Santos Avenue (EDSA).
Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021
DENR Applauds Women's Contributions to PH Mining
Women have made a major contribution to the growth and advancement of the country's mining industry, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, with more women leaders advancing to top-level roles. “We need the active participation of women in policy formulation and program development not only to advance their rights in terms of decision-making and leadership but to empower them to address environmental challenges and climate change,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said. According to Nonita Caguioa, DENR Assistant Secretary for Finance, Information Systems, and Mining Concerns, more women are now working in the mining industry, as shown by the increase in female workers in mining firms and at the DENR's Mines and Geosciences Bureau. “We have different mining companies in the nickel industry who already have women, senior officials. Not only in nickel mining, but we can also see now plenty of women in the mining industry in general,” she said. “There are even those who have just finished college in geology, metallurgy or mining engineering, some of whom are already employed with some of the mining companies or the government service,” Caguioa added. With more women working in the mining industry, she cited laws like Republic Act 9710, or the Magna Carta of Women of 2009, RA 7877, or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, and RA 7192, or the Women in Development and Nation Building Act of 1992, that promote and protect their rights. According to Caguioa, the DENR has non-discrimination clauses in mining licenses and arrangements to “respect the right of women workers to engage in policy and decision-making procedures that concern their interests and benefits.” Caguioa earned a mining engineering degree from the Cebu Institute of Technology before entering the DENR.
Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021
Semirara Mining Expects Profit Recovery This Year
Semirara Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC), a publicly traded integrated energy firm, expect some profit recovery this year, owing to improved coal and power demand and costs. SMPC chairman and CEO Isidro Consunji said at the company's virtual stockholders' meeting that the company's bottom line will boost as the coal and energy markets rebound from last year's historic lows. “To take advantage of the upswing, we will capitalize on our COVID-19 resiliency and adaptation strategy of focusing on our people, finances, and execution skills. However, given our operational headwinds and until our country reaches herd immunity, it is unlikely that we will return to our pre-pandemic profit level this year,” he said. The business ended in 2020 with a combined net income of P3.3 billion, down 66% from P9.6 billion the previous year. Revenues dropped 36.2 per cent to P23.3 billion as coal production, sales, and prices fell, while energy sales fell due to low power rates and Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp's (SLPGC) expected and unplanned outages. The coal division of SMPC and the SLPGC plants will be the key drivers of development this year. With remedial steps introduced in Molave North Block 7 (NB7), the coal industry is expected to reach 13 million metric tons, according to SMPC president and COO Maria Cristina Gotianun. “This year, we expect our coal business to perform better on the back of recovering consumption and prices. The remedial measures we have been implementing since December have also allowed us to steadily normalize production. Now that the water seepage at NB7 has gone down to manageable levels, we expect annual production to hit 13 million metric tons,” she said. Due to excessive water seepages, SMPC postponed mining operations in Molave NB7 in early December, reducing coal output by 13% to 13.2 million metric tons. SLPGC is expected to drive profits in SMPC's power market due to higher sales, but Sem-Calaca Power Corp. (SCPC) is expected to produce poor performance. SCPC is the owner of the Calaca coal-fired power plant in Batangas, which it bought from the government in 2009 for $362 million. In the same location, SLPGC operates a 2x150-MW coal power plant. “For this year, we expect uneven results from our power subsidiaries. SLPGC is set to stage a strong profit recovery because of higher plant availability and better spot market prices. Unfortunately, SCPC is likely to deliver disappointing results because of the forced outage of its Unit 2 beginning Dec. 3 last year,” Gotianun said. SCPC's outage was triggered by a seven-month-old generator stator failing. Repairs are currently being negotiated with generator provider GE, according to Gotianun. “While they have agreed to cover the majority of the costs related to fixing the equipment, we are intent on making them shoulder all the necessary expenses. We expect to complete our negotiations within the year,” she said. “In the meantime, we are doing our best to fast track the repair of the generator. If all goes well, Unit 2 can be up and running by the third quarter of this year,” Gotianun said. This year, SMPC will invest P4 billion to rebound from last year's slump. The overall sum will be divided between SCPC and SLPGC for their prevention and repair services, with P2.9 billion going to buy mining and service equipment for the coal industry. Since the COVID-19 pandemic placed a burden on the company's liquidity last year, the management agreed to delay P3.7 billion of CAPEX to this year as part of its cash saving steps.