Maintaining Productivity Through the Riptide of COVID

Reading Time: 4 minutes

“The power we discover inside ourselves as we survive a life-threatening experience can be utilized equally well outside of crisis, too. I am, in every moment, capable of mustering the strength to survive again—or of tapping that strength in other good, productive, healthy ways.”

~Michele Rosenthal

Maintaining Productivity Through the Riptide of COVID

Like a riptide, COVID-19 has pulled us into its wake, threatening to overwhelm both people and the systems around us. It’s important to chart a course for leaders and those who count on them. Mentorship programs can keep employees motivated and productive, with some teammates working in the office while others log in from home.

Are you looking for ways to keep yourself and your employees afloat? Here’s advice from Pollinate CEO, Christy Pettit on how to swim your way out without getting sucked under by the dangerous riptide.

The COVID-19 Riptide – A Disconnected World

“The virus is an emerging threat that could break our systems and eclipse the economy if we aren’t smart about addressing the crisis. We have to stop wandering disconnectedly through a skewed version of normal life,” according to Christy Pettit.

It’s all very real and the fatigue has hit everyone. Here are some of the ways the COVID riptide surges through the business world:

  • Employees working from home – feeling disconnected and exhausted
  • Curtailed travel
  • Cancelled conferences
  • Disrupted supply chains
  • Vast turnover as people’s priorities shift

Know that there is no one way to survive a riptide or a crisis like COVID-19; the current (or the situation) morphs constantly. The science on surviving a riptide is applicable to the challenge we face today; it calls for a truly agile response. So, it’s important to chart a course and stay true to it while remaining flexible enough to ride the waves that will continue to lash out at your business.

We Are Exhausted —But Not Defeated!

Perhaps you’ll recognize some of these symptoms of exhaustion and disconnectedness related to working and living during a global pandemic:

  • Anxiety and helplessness
  • Lack of empathy
  • Reduced or no energy
  • Body aches or pains
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Confusion regarding work goals
  • Lack of productivity

Everyone is feeling overwhelmed due to the mental and physical tolls brought on by the pandemic, economic uncertainty, loss of loved ones, and fear of contracting COVID-19, to name just a few.

While staying afloat, business leaders must constantly choose between solid ground on the horizon and shimmering mirages that could run the business aground.

Maintaining Productivity Through a Time of Crisis

Successful businesses fuel productivity by keeping employees engaged, excited, and united behind common goals. That’s hard to do in the best of times with all employees under one roof. It takes even more communication and imagination to do so during a crisis, with employees working from home. Keep people motivated so you can bring out the very best in them.

Be prepared

Staying productive is always easier when everyone knows the plan. Here are some guidelines to help your business map out a safe route through stormy waters:

  • Prepare by first focusing on verifiable information backed by science, and the experiences of people and businesses that have survived parallel situations.
  • Extrapolate potential risks and map out your response plans with available information.
  • When a threat does loom, gather and monitor all available information to thoroughly understand the situation.
  • Visualize how to swim with the current and find your way out.

Bring people together

“Unlike a riptide, most emergency situations involve groups of people caught in the current. As leaders, we must be seen working through the problems at hand. It’s our job to inform people and limit panic by providing direction. We need to insulate people from the constant battering of fear, confusion and unproductive activity,” advises Christy Pettit.

To do so, leaders must become the trusted navigators that set the course of business operations. Building trust, developing natural leaders, and incorporating and rewarding good ideas, creates a seamless, loyal, and unstoppable crew.

Share knowledge and know-how—a mentoring mindset

A mentoring mindset can help build bench strength on your team. First, mentors must meet and determine the objectives and brainstorm on how to achieve them. This knowledge must trickle down to employees with the know-how to carry out the goals of the business.

In-person training and meetings aren’t options, but it’s crucial to find alternative ways to bring everyone together. Fortunately, the technology and resources to do so already exist:

  • Experts like Nancy White, a leading facilitator, trainer, and instructional designer, offer resources to facilitator communities about moving online in a crisis.
  • Mentorship programs provide important feedback loops for leaders. As leaders, we may think we’re communicating clearly. However, it’s important to check in with direct reports and their teams to benchmark progress, celebrate milestones, and to provide a life jacket to anyone feeling overwhelmed by the tidal wave and aftershocks of COVID-19.
  • Effective knowledge transfer ensures knowledge stays in the organization and becomes intellectual property. To achieve these knowledge management goals, mentors must encourage feedback loops from mentees or cohorts tasked with applying new knowledge or skills.

Track progress

Through mentoring for productivity, you can track the progress of every component and team member. It’s so easy, especially in times of crisis, to lose track of what actually got done. Track what matters most right now. Celebrate any, and all wins! Act on tasks or problems that are “stuck” in progress.

By staying prepared, bringing people together across the digital divide, promoting knowledge transfer, and tracking progress, the leaders here at Pollinate hope to navigate our business through riptides and hurricanes until calm seas return the global economy to calmer shores.

Contact Pollinate today to find out how our tools can help your business achieve greater productivity through mentoring programs. You can also call us at 519-265-3845 with any questions you have about how to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic.

More from Pollinate Networks:


Christy Pettit

Christy Pettit is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Pollinate Networks Inc.

For 25 years, Christy has developed new approaches and best practices for agile, effective organizations worldwide. She is an expert on matching people and organizations for applications including knowledge transfer and mentorship programs, flexible virtual and hybrid teams, and productive organizational and business ecosystems and networks.



33 Encouraging Quotes for Times of Crisis.

20 Inspiring Mentoring Quotes

How to cope with crisis fatigue



Share this Post

Comments 1

  1. Excellent blog, very effective use of riptide and Covid-19 metaphors. I especially liked the positioning of mentoring as leadership in our current contextual handicaps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *