3 April, 2020

Covid-19 emergency, the opinion of the psychologist Monica Barisone

With the Covid-19 emergency it has been necessary to adopt new workplace security protocols to avoid contamination amongst employees.

Biss Group promptly adapted to this new situation and gathered together all the necessary resources for smart working. This was made possible by the use of technologies, researched solutions and new partnerships.

This has been possible until today, but unfortunately the virus continues to be stronger than the will to continue working.

Productions sites are now closed. It is the decrees and the ATECO code that determine which activities have priority.

The whole automotive sector is slowing down and we are forced to resort to social safety nets.

Sadness descends upon us all.

People fear the renowned redundancy fund.

We don’t know if and when it will apply and if it’ll be enough for us. What should represent our savings for difficult times is becoming a dark enemy, friend of the virus; forgetting that the redundancy fund is our RIGHT, financed by us throughout the years.

Once again, it is our sense of belonging that distinguishes us when facing change.

Now we are socially aware and say things like: “Don’t worry, I’ll go instead; you have three children”. Sharing and word-of-mouth have allowed us to use wisely financial incentives and these periods of leave; it’s not easy to understand all these laws, clauses and ministerial circulars that often overlap one another.

But mostly, we have learnt the difference between a true business and career oriented one, a company’s success lies within its capacity to stay UNITED, regardless of the difficulties.

On this topic we’ve asked Dr. Monica Barisone, occupational psychologist and Biss Group srl consultant, to help us understand the meaning of all this and how we can best face this Covid-19 emergency period.

Dr. Monica Barisone

“First of all, I would like to thank Biss Group for including me in this initiative, giving me the opportunity to reflect upon this extraordinary situation.

I’m nearly 60 and have seen my share of difficult social and civil situations, I’ve personally and professionally had to manage great flows of unemployment, redundancy funds, austerity, corporate and cultural restructuring, but none compare to the unique aspects of Covid-19.

This is an international Public Health Emergency, it’s rare and represents a huge threat to all states. The situation has required a coordinated response of a total block of activities and self isolation in order to contain contagion.

There are some differences compared to previous serious crisis of production activities: on the one hand it doesn’t originate from the market or from the necessity to change our know-how; on the other hand we have more coping tools available to face this crisis; some recent, like smart working others well established, like contractual solidarity or redundancy funds.

The redundancy fund was founded in the mid 40s and at the beginning of the 80s it became an important social resource representing a positive change to the severe economic and psychological dangers of losing a job, and consequent unemployment.

Research and studies – some of which I was personally involved in with my university thesis – highlighted its benefits and limitations and led to its routine use.

Today the Redundancy Fund represents a great resource when used wisely and assigned with transparency.

Work stoppages and social isolation, as we are witnessing in this period, even if temporary, may represent important change for their consequential effects and expensive in terms of energy spent on the adaptation process.

What would help us is to prepare as quickly as possible, after a short period of compliance, a new ‘good enough’ routine.

No one expects our lives to become fairytales full of joy, satisfaction, reflection and creativity!

The real world doesn’t allow it!

All we can do is maintain a rhythm in our daily lives, with duties in line with the available resources and leisure activities: taking care of ourselves and of our families who share our time and space, taking care of our environment, respecting governmental directives, limiting conflict and… a pinch of interest towards those hidden, lost or forgotten “vital” elements.

At this time everyone could benefit with some physical or mental digging, according to ones nature, to find traces of themselves, brush up past problem solving strategies left to one side, or dreams never attempted in our personal, domestic, professional or in our free time.

Also including some healthy idleness, so unpopular in our modern age.

In 1999 sociologist De Masi challenged us by writing: “….we would be happier and more content if we adapted our behaviour to post industrial society rules, integrating idleness and work so as to create one satisfying continuum”.

The same expert, describes today Covid-19 Emergency as “ a valuable social experiment” that “ allows us to understand that we are living in one big community, where things resonate rapidly” and that “the future model is based upon globalisation and technology” and lastly he clarifies “with our bodies restrained within walls, our mind can travel anywhere …interacting”.

Many say that from difficult times come great ideas

Yes, often that is the case, but let’s not forget that it also takes great sacrifice and effort.

My colleague, Anna Castellano, who has been working in training for many years, wrote “groups have been identified as favoured places for learning, and of change, from the first researches of which these groups were the subject”, since Lewin’s studies in the 1940s.

The group and working together are the driving force of the adaptational process.

Those who are able to cooperate with others, with generosity and geniality, as seems to be happening in your Company, also as it seems to be in the nature of Italians (as many videos remind us with fine examples in these past weeks) have greater advantages!”.

Best wishes

Monica Barisone

disegni dei bambini dei dipendenti della Biss Group (arcobaleno "andrà tutto bene")
Some drawings made by Biss Group staff’s children.