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 Recognize, then lighten the load

One of the biggest organizational obstacles is the fallacy that it is all about self-care. Self-care is just one piece. We should be asking, how can we limit the stressors people are being faced with?  Valerie Cole – American Red Cross

Recognize the load being carried, then take steps to lighten it. Identify and deal to the stressors themselves[1]. The nature of recovery does create bricks that are unavoidable, but a great many others could be lifted from the pile. 

Proactively manage workloads, scale back expectations or scale up resourcing. Provide assistance for administrative tasks. Remove unnecessary hurdles, increase flexibility and reduce complexity to make tasks, processes, and systems less onerous.

Give people time. Nothing is as rushed during recovery as it seems. Put the brakes on for a little while otherwise we end up on this unhealthy treadmill of heightened anxiety and the unsustainable level of activity seen in the response phase is kept alive. We need to be better at asking is this urgent and is this necessary? We need to do the urgent stuff and the necessary stuff, but only the urgent stuff needs to be done quickly. Expectations are not static so own the discourse—rather than exhausting your staff, work to manage the expectations of the public and others. Educate and advocate. Anne Leadbeater – Kinglake Ranges

Program activities need to be realistic. In recovery you need to factor in a third of time for leave, R&R and sickness. …What capacity is needed? And managing that over time. Ensuring there are HR, finance and logistic staff to support recovery. We shy away from spending money on support costs—but we shouldn’t think of it this way. They are not support costs, they are operation costs, as important as the people implementing the projects. Ted Tuthill – British Red Cross

There is the tendency to fund stuff - but stuff won’t be developed or distributed unless you fund staff. There is never a recognized connection between the staff person and the outcomes – just seen as a staff cost. It is difficult to value and measure the impact of staff but they are a huge success factor… And the most crucial recovery worker is the administrative assistant. If community leaders are taking it on, then they need support and resourcing to do it. John Richardson – Australian Red Cross

I had a lady who came and created a blog page and was making updates for me and she maintained the webpage – that helped get our name and information out there and it freed me up to do what I needed to be doing. Mike Hoffman – Yellow Boots, Staten Island

We needed flexibility of reporting systems. They wanted to tell the story and be accountable and transparent but we had to work to ensure reporting wasn’t a burden and buffer them from donor pressures. Tohru Shirakawa – JVC

Provide practical support to directly address recovery challenges of those who are simultaneously affected themselves and consider family needs as part of the equation.

Be creative—find out what exactly are the issues they are dealing with. Provide someone to help with forms or provide legal advice, or financial management workshops. Johara Boukaa – World Vision

[1]To develop an awareness of the ‘bricks’ which make up the load Appendices E-G outline those mentioned by people playing a supporting recovery role