Key Takeaways from Downtown Denver Partnership’s 4th COVID-19 Member Briefing Webinar

April 14, 2020

On April 14, the Downtown Denver Partnership gathered our members, community leaders, and business owners in the fourth weekly COVID-19 Membership Briefing webinar. Key takeaways include:

From SCL Health, Melissa Sommers, an oncology Social Worker at Presbyterian St. Luke Medical Center, addressed mental health and wellness during these unprecedented times. She also offered practical tactics to help employers promote mentally healthy work environments. Click here to see her presentation.

  • Sommers encouraged patients in need of emergency care to seek it out, there is space and capacity for care. The Denver community has done well in flattening the curve with social distancing.
  • She emphasized that all Denver area hospitals have taken precautions and implemented protocols based on updates from the CDC and WHO to ensure the utmost safety of patients and staff.
    • This includes protocols for protective gear and screenings to prevent contamination.
    • All elective procedures have been cancelled.
    • To ensure that patients and staff maintain this level of safety, currently no family or friends may visit patients in the hospital.
  • Melissa highlighted that our community and world are feeling a collective sense of uncertainty at this time, and these unprecedented circumstances might provoke feelings of anxiety, irritability, and guilt; affecting each of us in different ways.
  • In that same vein, she reminded our members that we are all experiencing this together, and many of us are working from home. Melissa offered some tips to help employers to promote a healthy work environment, including:
    • Give one another grace, we are all handling this differently.
    • Stay connected and schedule virtual meetings. They don’t always need to be work-related.
    • Disconnect at the end of your day or shift, and encourage employees to do the same.
    • Share positive things that are happening with your team.
    • Set short-term and manageable goals.
  • Melissa also stressed the importance of self-care for both employees and employers as we get used to this ‘new normal’. Her advice encourages us to prioritize self-care to enable us to put our best food forward for our teams.
    • Some ways we can practice self-care while social distancing are:
      • Exercise and get outside when possible.
      • Get social with virtual happy hours or coffee hours.
      • Volunteer, or organize remote community service with coworkers.
      • Try to keep a consistent wakeup time, a routine can help with fatigue.
      • For more examples of self care, please see the slides from Sommers’ presentation.
  • During the webinar, we asked our members to share any actions their organizations have taken to connect employees and create fun for their teams. Here’s what they said:
    • Kathy Holmes with Holmes Consulting Group shared, “With my clients I have established a “Show + Tell” section to our calls. Rather than just ‘getting to work’ we spend 10 minutes where we show a home project completed, or tell a story about childhood, or share a photo of a great sailing trip. It helps with deeper connection and balances the ‘work’ that is currently about having to let employees go and other difficult decisions.”
    • Dana Mack from Olsson added, “Every Thursday we are doing a themed photo contest. Two weeks ago was co-working pet photos. Last week was senior pictures. This week is Halloween costumes. Everyone votes via SurveyMonkey at the end of the day and the winner gets a Visa gift card.”
    • Ayn Fox with LoDo District Inc. shared, “In LoDo  Community – LoDo Cares ( the collaboration of the Business and Resident Community) are hosting Conversations for Reflection and Connection that people can sign up to attend. People have found them calming and inspiring.”
    • Marketing Director for the Denver Pavilions Wendy Manning highlighted, “The Denver Sign at Denver Pavilions has a light show during the 8pm howl to show our appreciation to our community and as a sense of solidarity.”
    • From the Partnership, Nicole Dorsey said, “At the Partnership we have set up Happy Hours with our entire staff on Fridays. We also use #slack over emails to help minimize use of emails.  Also we use the Taco App as a fun way to reward team members with Tacos!! 🙂 
    • Adding to that, Hayden Plemmons highlighted, ”At The Partnership we did a survey to check in on the Mental Health of our team members. HeyTaco! as mentioned above has been a great resource for peer to peer recognition!”
  • Melissa closed by answering questions about how individuals can seek care for their mental health during these times. 
    • Many employers offer an Employee Assistance Program, and these can connect individuals with mental health professionals.
    • This site offers free resources and help connecting individuals with therapy. 
    • United Healthcare has a free service for emotional support at 1-866-342-6892. You do not have to be enrolled in United Healthcare to use it, and it is open to anyone who needs emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • For access to the Partnership’s most up-to-date COVID-19 resources please click here to see our updated page. 

The Partnership will continue to host weekly COVID-19 Membership briefings. Click here to join us for next week’s webinar on April 21st at 3:00 PM.