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Gender, Diversity and Inclusion in CGIAR's Workplaces

Wellness in the Time of COVID-19 – Webinar

Dear Webinar Participants!

Thank you so much for attending our Webinar “Wellness in the Time of COVID-19” and we hope that you found it useful. I’m following up with a summary of the tips and key weblinks in case any of you want to follow up.

As you know, COVID-19 is affecting millions of people worldwide, including CGIAR staff. It presents us with several unprecedented challenges.

The GDI Function has already provided advice on remote working via two online toolkits: one for People Leaders and one for All Staff.

But the Covid-19 lockdown introduces a whole new set of issues too, particularly for working parents and those with mental health issues. For those without family, the enforced social isolation compounds any other anxieties about health and disruption. We must take extra care of our mental health and wellbeing, and of our colleagues and team members.

Our two panellists, Mohammad Naciri, and Petra Miczaika, provided some excellent advice.

How staff can deal with anxiety and stress:

  1. Accept that not every day will be productive – these are not typical times
  2. Shut off from work and unwind at the end of the work day
  3. Take your lunch breaks
  4. If you can – go out for a socially distanced walk
  5. Connect with friends and family virtually
  6. If you are overwhelmed and need help from work – then communicate this
  7. Accept the crisis for what it is – you cannot change it
  8. Have faith things will improve
  9. Try to be grateful and recognise the opportunities that this can bring
  10. Make time in meetings to ask ‘how are we all today’

How managers can support working parents in their teams:

  1. Offer the utmost flexibility
  2. Rework goals where necessary
  3. Schedule critical meetings in advance
  4. Have ‘no go’ call times so your staff can switch off
  5. Exercise forgiveness (self and others)
  6. Remind everyone that this is not normal
  7. See every goal met, no matter how small, as an achievement
  8. Encourage everyone

How managers can help team members suffering stress, anxiety or burn out:

  1. Watch out for changes in behaviour.
  2. Reach out and check on them – ask how are they are
  3. At least once a day in a team meeting, ask everyone how they are, how are their families.
  4. Managers should consider counselling, not only for their own benefit, but also to model that seeking help is acceptable behaviour.

How managers can support staff at risk of domestic violence:

  1. Look out for patterns of fear or changes in behaviour
  2. If concerned, reach out and ask if the staff member wants to speak
  3. Remove the stigma: show that the organisation takes the issue seriously
  4. Provide practical support: lists of places to go for help, helpline numbers
  5. Make them aware of the availability of confidential counselling

How staff can access the counselling:

  1. Contact The Rome Institute in confidence, using the following link: or
  2. A Counsellor will then contact the Staff member and counselling begins. A counselling session typically lasts between 30 and 60 minutes.
  3. A Staff member can access a total of 120 minutes of counselling time. Should the Staff member want additional counselling, the Counsellor will request additional time from the GDI function, without revealing the Staff member’s personal details.

Further information can be found via the following links:

  • Our wellness guides for (1) People leaders (link) and (2) All Staff (link)
  • CGIAR Counselling Services (link): This pdf gives details of the CGIAR counselling and how to access it.
  • The GDI webpage (link). This page has our latest stories and publications, including the Counselling SOPs. Or you can check out our social media channels, including our private Facebook group (link) and LinkedIn channel (link). We’ll be posting more and more content – including on the webinar – in the coming days and weeks.

Once again, thanks so much for attending. If you need anything else, then please do let me know.

For anyone that would like to provide feedback on the Webinar please visit this survey link.

Stay safe.

With thanks and regards,

Fiona Farrell
CGIAR System Senior Advisor, Gender, Diversity and Inclusion