When News Encroaches

I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t read this blog today.    Like most of you, I have been engrossed by the terrorist attack in Boston on Monday.  That being said, I firmly believe the best way the average citizen can combat terrorism is to go about their daily lives undeterred by the senseless acts of others.  So here I am, writing my blog even if this week no one reads it.

March MadnessAs a business person, manager or owner, what do you do when the news of the day encroaches?  Productivity suffers whether it’s something as serious as Monday’s events or trivial (though before Monday it didn’t seem trivial to many) as “March Madness”?

First, I think it’s important to not ignore it.  In the case of a lighthearted event such as the college basketball finals, circulating bracket forms and posting results in the break room is a good idea for some workplaces.  In the event of a natural disaster or major terror attack, people are going to get the information one way or another.  With the internet on our desks and our phones, we are going to search for updates – even if we “sneak” to do it.

It’s always better to address ANY issue, even a news encroachment, head on.  Pull your team together, tell them you are deeply saddened by the news from Boston.  Remind them that while we are all anxious to have the perpetrators caught and punished, we still have customers to serve, orders to fill, business to do.  Point out that by going about our daily lives with as much gusto as we can manage, we are in fact, fighting terrorism.  Then encourage them to get the latest news during their breaks and lunch, maybe even set up a television in that area tuned to an all news channel for updates.

Even Google, known for it’s whimsical renditions of it’s logo on the main search page not only went back to it’s actual logo but also added a link for “Resources related to the Boston Marathon explosions”.


GirlsRunTake proactive steps.  Is there something you can do to make a difference?  Would organizing a blood drive, clothing collection or Red Cross donation be productive even if not directly impacting?  Perhaps signing up to be a “Running Buddy” for your local Girls on the Run Chapter would be a proactive step.  Doing something helps combat the feeling of helplessness.

If you have employees traveling on business, remind them to allow extra time over the next days as all airports are on high alert and security is tight resulting in delays and long lines.

In times of crisis, we look to our leaders for reassurance.  In the workplace, YOU are that leader.  Show compassion and concern.  If possible, take proactive steps to help employees feel more in control.  But above all else,  encourage your team to continue to move forward.


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2 Responses to “When News Encroaches”

  1. Gayle Sprague O'Donnell Says:

    Don’t know about others, but I read this and it’s full of great thoughts. Even though I’m but the leader of one these days, it’s even good news to share Paper Passionista’s clients as they can be distracted and unable to focus on the matter at hand – planning their weddings!! 😉 Thanks for a great article!!

  2. Robin Ryan Says:

    How insightful and wise. Sunny shows compassion and also a management directive to help the employees process what has happened. Even if you are thousands of miles away, maybe one of your employees is from Boston or knows people in the Marathon. I live in Seattle but knew several — and sadly two that were seriously injured. Following Sunny’s astute advice is the best thing any manager and company can do.


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