COVID-19 pandemic tensions and contradictions are being felt and experienced across the US at many levels: societal, organizational, and individual. One way to understand, work though, and address some of the tensions that workers are experiencing is through “paradoxical thinking.” Paradoxical thinking helps to see on-going, unresolvable, contradictory tensions as forces that can fuel innovation and performance. Using a paradox lens, this paper was written to help make sense of the crises leaders and workers are experiencing as the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on. The paper begins with a brief overview of the sources of data, the meaning of paradox, and illustrates five paradoxes experienced during the pandemic by providing information on the potential impact of COVID-19 on workers. Finally, empirically proven strategies for dealing with paradoxes are presented.

Pandemic paradoxes discussed:

  • Pandemic Survival: Saving the Business & Saving Lives
  • Sustainability: Be Productive & Do More with Less
  • Leveraged Work and Home Office: Equip Workers & Manage Expenses
  • Balance: Work & Family
  • Essential Workers: Importance & Precarious

Impact of COVID-19 on workers:

  • Work Loneliness
  • Videoconference Fatigue
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Reduction in Workforce
  • Death Reminders

Read the paper  

  • Jean Leslie Director, Strategic Initiatives & Senior Fellow, Americas