30% Find Resetting Passwords as Stressful as Retiring

More than 30% of people in the US find resetting passwords as stressful as retiring. This was the finding of password manager NordPass’ in-depth research on people’s password habits in the US and the UK.

Password Statistics

The study found that 30% of people find resetting passwords to be hugely stressful. So stressful in fact, that it is comparable to the stress of retiring. 67% of respondents agreed that losing passwords is as stressful as dismissal or changing jobs.

Thought of Retirement is Stressful

It is no secret that the thought of retirement is stressful for many. A study conducted in 2018 found that 39% of small business owners say they are not confident they can retire. The research found the principle apprehension about retirement is due to financial reasons. Both small business owners and employees have concerns that they will not be financially prepared for retirement. The majority of respondents said being able to save more would increase their confidence about retirement.

The Difficulty of Password Management

Comparing losing passwords to the stress of retirement acutely shows the apprehension associated with having to reset passwords. NordPass’ study sheds light on why password management is so difficult. 66% of the survey’s respondents say it is because they have too many accounts to manage.

For small businesses, the research highlights the importance of having a robust password management system in place. Being able to manage passwords with ease and efficiency will help ease the burden of lost passwords among staff. With less stress to contend with, morale can be boosted among staff.

Chad Hammond, security expert at Nord Pass, spoke about the importance of having strong passwords for businesses.

“People tend to worry about financial accounts more. But it’s important to remember that if you use weak or repurposed passwords, it doesn’t matter which account gets hacked. In essence, all accounts become jeopardized,” said Hammond.

Weak Passwords and Cybercrime

Out of those surveyed for NordPass’ research, 22% had been victims of cybercrime. Out of the cybercrime victims, 57% consider themselves as being tech savvy. Despite considering themselves as tech savvy and having already fallen victim to cybercrime, there is still complacency around protecting accounts with strong passwords.

To help reduce stress among employees and keep accounts secure, a robust password management system should be set up. This was the key message highlighted by NordPass’ study.

NordPass Infographic on Password Management

ImagePassword Statistics

Image: Depositphotos.com

A Plan to Safely Reopen the U.S. Despite Inadequate Testing

Executive Summary

The big dilemma in the U.S. is how to reopen the economy when the amount of available testing for Covid-19 is likely to remain inadequate for months. If the lockdown and other social-distancing restrictions are lifted too quickly, the disease could resurge. This article offers a strategy that’s achievable in the near term and sustainable in the long term: providing high-filtration masks to the whole U.S. population and rigorously implementing physical distancing and hygiene guidelines. It requires governments, employers, and the population at large to be bolder, more systematic, and more innovative in maximizing these approaches.

Illustration by Jason Schneider

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For regions shut down due to Covid-19 to safely begin to reopen, we need ways to keep R  — the average number of additional people infected by each infected person — under one, the threshold below which epidemics contract and ultimately die out. Among the proposals for how we can do this in the United States, one calls for frequent population-wide testing to identify and isolate those who are infected. Others suggest that the country will be hard-pressed to get through this without either prolonging lockdowns or intermittently reinstating them whenever infections rise until we have enough testing and contact tracing to control the spread or enough people become immune through infection or vaccination. The former requires testing on a scale that, barring a breakthrough, will not be possible anytime soon. The latter would inflict ongoing social and economic damage with the specter of lockdowns constantly looming over us.

Further Reading

We suggest another way that is perhaps both more achievable in the near term and sustainable over the long term. It is based on our belief that given the expected limited levels of testing that will be available for the next several months, we may not be able to detect and isolate enough infected people to keep R below one without lockdowns even with strong contact tracing.

Once cases are declining for multiple weeks, though, we could begin easing social distancing if we can implement population-wide social protections that, combined with more modest increases in testing and tracing, could be sufficient for keeping R below one. Social protections are ways to protect against transmission, including asymptomatic and presymptomatic spread, that still allow people to work and resume some normal activities. Our plan involves two measures:

  • Mass producing and then widely distributing masks that are more protective than those that are now typically being worn by the general population
  • Ensuring rigorous implementation of physical distancing and hygiene in workplaces, public areas, high-risk settings (e.g., homeless shelters), and homes

While many reopening plans call for versions of these measures, we are calling for governments, employers, and the population at large to be bolder, more systematic, and more innovative in maximizing these approaches. In the absence of adequate testing, strong social protection is the only other lever we have to blunt transmission enough that lockdowns could potentially be relaxed without needing to be quickly reimposed.

Ultimately, social protection may neither need to be as effective as social distancing nor require testing and tracing to be perfect. The key is for their combined effect to be good enough to keep R below one. This could be more achievable than it seems. From an analysis we conducted (not yet peer reviewed), if social protection were 50% effective, we would keep R below one by isolating 40% of symptomatic infected individuals within a day of the onset of symptoms.

Invisible Spread

One of the key reasons why current levels of testing, tracing, and isolation are not enough to stop Covid-19 is its “invisible” transmission. Between 25% and 80% of infected people have no symptoms, or only mild ones, yet still infect others, some possibly contributing to “superspreading” events. Even patients who develop serious illness may be most infectious either one or two days before their symptoms start or on the day that their symptoms appear. Almost half of all transmission may happen during this presymptomatic period when people — and those around them — don’t know they are transmitting.

The White House projects that five to 10 people need to be tested to find one infected person; others suggest that number is 50 to 100 people. At current levels of infection, testing widely enough to stop enough asymptomatic and presymptomatic transmission would likely require millions of tests per day — more than the roughly 200,000 a day done now or the 450,000 a day expected by the fall. Contact tracing can find some of these invisible transmission chains, but no matter how many tracers are hired or what digital tools are used, it can only help to the extent that testing is available to identify cases whose contacts need to be traced, isolated, and also tested.

Social Protection Strategies

Many states have recently gotten R just below one by buttressing testing with lockdowns. As states gradually reopen, we need measures that mimic the protective benefits of lockdowns without their destructive downsides.

High-filtration masks. Though Covid-19 can spread through surfaces and contact, it seems to mainly transmit through the air. If we block this respiratory transmission, we should be able to control the virus. High-filtration surgical masks that are easier to wear than N95 masks can help achieve this goal. They could be just as important to stopping Covid-19 as any diagnostic or treatment.

The cloth masks that people are now using vary widely in how well they block infection but typically stop less than 50% of viral particles with many closer to 20% or less. High-filtration surgical and N95 masks used by health workers more reliably impede transmission. Right now, these are rightly prioritized for health workers. What is more, N95 masks are difficult to wear for long periods of time even for those used to them.

While not as protective, high-filtration surgical masks are generally more effective than cloth masks and more wearable than N95s. A new study suggests that combining cotton with other widely available materials, such as silk, chiffon, or flannel, could achieve levels of filtration similar to these masks.

An existing high-filtration surgical mask or a new design — ideally one that is reusable — that strikes the right balance between protection and comfort should be rapidly mass manufactured and distributed to the general population. As was done for ventilators, we need to use the Defense Production Act to mass produce and widely distribute these masks.

While this sounds ambitious, it may be easier and faster to do than establishing adequate testing. And, though there is a concern that wearing masks may prompt people to be less careful in other ways, we have not seen any data to support this notion. In fact, similar reservations were raised about whether seatbelts would cause careless driving, which studies have shown to be untrue.

Physical distancing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) needs to develop clear guidelines and regulations for maintaining safe distancing in public that local health departments can use to help businesses implement and then monitor for compliance. Even once lockdowns are relaxed, we need to keep large public gatherings on hold. Public areas need to be choreographed to ensure spacing — for instance, by limiting the number of passengers in a subway car or customers in a business at any one time. Workplaces similarly need to be reorganized to minimize crowding — by staggering shifts, limiting in-person meetings, spacing out seating arrangements, resorting to telework as much as possible, and so on. Restaurants and retail stores need to actively plan and manage the spacing of customers, provide hand sanitizing facilities, and ensure appropriate ventilation to prevent viral particles from lingering in the air.

Hygiene. While masks and distancing address respiratory transmission, fomite spread — spreading a disease through surfaces — needs to also be blocked by routinely disinfecting highly frequented areas and making hand sanitizing ubiquitous in public spaces. While preventing people from picking up virus this way, we also need to other strategies to nudge them into not touching their face and mouth. In a study observing medical students, subjects touched their face 23 times per hour. While changing these behaviors is difficult, it’s not impossible. For example, wearing rubber or other reusable gloves when grocery shopping may make people less likely to touch their face. Other creative, scalable, and possibly simple ideas could go a long way.

Home isolation. People with symptoms, confirmed infection, or identified as a contact of an infected person need to be isolated until they are clearly not infectious. If isolating at home — where household members are up to 20 times more likely to get infected than other contacts — people need to be truly isolated. They should not share bathrooms, beds, or living spaces with others and should wear masks and wash hands before passing through common areas. People for whom this is not practical — for example, those living in crowded housing or with people who are at high-risk — need to be given the option to isolate in hotels, dorms, or other repurposed venues free of charge.

While people seem willing to adopt protective practices at home when someone is symptomatic, it may be unrealistic to expect people to do so when family members could unknowingly be asymptomatically or presymptomatically infectious. Scenarios may arise where guarding against this invisible spread by wearing masks and practicing social distancing within households might become important for controlling the epidemic, especially as people return to work. However, such intrusive measures would have to be weighed carefully against their extreme social cost. The number of people living in a household would likely be an important factor in navigating such situations. For community housing scenarios — like nursing homes and homeless shelters, where large numbers of people get infected very quickly — the need for protective measures is clearer.

As states look to reopen, we need to establish a multilayered, social-protection strategy that, combined with more achievable levels of testing and tracing, could keep R below one. Doing so will also require cultivating public buy-in without regressive punitive enforcement while supporting disadvantaged communities to adopt these approaches. We need to move quickly to create and widely implement such a strategy within the coming weeks, not months.

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How CEOs Can Support Employee Mental Health in a Crisis

Executive Summary

Covid-19’s second-order crisis is starting to emerge: the toll it is taking on our mental health. In a global study of more than 2,700 employees across more than 10 industries undertaken by Qualtrics and SAP during March and April 2020, 75% of people say they feel more socially isolated, 67% of people report higher stress, 57% are feeling greater anxiety, and 53% say they feel more emotionally exhausted. What can CEOs and managers do? The author, himself a CEO, suggests a five-step process: 1) Open the door so staff know you are available to talk about the issue, 2) Demonstrate supportive listening, 3) Be consistent in your messaging, 4) Keep a constant pulse on how your staff are handling the stress in the aggregate, and 5) Communicate available resources.

William Andrew/Getty Images

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Business leaders are justifiably focused on the here and now of the Covid-19 pandemic, but there’s a looming second-order mental health crisis that is only beginning to emerge as a result of global quarantines and a massive, sudden shift to working from home. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, 75% of people say they feel more socially isolated, 67% of people report higher stress, 57% are feeling greater anxiety, and 53% say they feel more emotionally exhausted, according to a global study of over 2,700 employees across more than 10 industries undertaken by Qualtrics and SAP during March and April 2020.

As humans we can handle change, but we do not do well with uncertainty. Given the enormous uncertainty everyone is facing —economically, personally, and professionally — these mental health statistics are as predictable as they are alarming. Using the data from the study and our own experience as CEOs, we have identified five steps every leader and manager should take to make an immediate impact:

1. Open the Door

Nearly 40% of people say their company has not even asked them how they’re doing since the pandemic began. That’s shocking. People in this group are 38% more likely to say their mental health has declined since the outbreak of the pandemic. How can we expect to help our people if we don’t even ask how they are doing? So step one is to simply ask, “Are you okay?”

Further Reading

I suspect that a desire to respect privacy is inhibiting these manager-employee conversations. But in our study, nearly three out five of people said they are comfortable with their manager proactively asking them about their mental health. Even more importantly, more than 40% of people said they want their manager to broach the subject. So open the door to a conversation by asking if people are okay, and then let them walk through that door in the way they are most comfortable, accepting that around 40 percent of employees will choose not to engage. That’s okay, too.

Our research shows that the mental health of your reports should not be outsourced to human resources. In fact, when people were asked to rank who they were willing to talk to about mental health concerns, (selecting from a list including their manager, peers, subordinates, HR, and company executives), people listed HR as the group they were least willing to talk to about mental health. Peers and managers were the two groups with whom people were most willing to address mental health.

2. Demonstrate Supportive Listening

For employees who do choose to talk about their mental health, managers need to practice supportive listening. Don’t try to solve everything all at once. Instead just listen, seek to genuinely understand, and ensure that people feel heard. And don’t be afraid to open up yourself. Reciprocation can be a powerful tool to build trust. Share how you personally are handling the new normal. Be vulnerable. According to our data, roughly 40% of people at every seniority level of a company have seen a decrease in mental health. That means that whether you’re the CEO, a mid-level manager, or a frontline employee, you are just as likely to be suffering. The sooner people realize they are not alone in this, the better we’ll be at supporting each other.

I think back to recent conversations I had with two members of our team. One is a single mother who is balancing home school for her two kids (one of whom is in French immersion), her job, and concern for an elderly parent who lives far away. The other is an employee who is single, lives alone, and talked about the crushing isolation he is feeling. My challenges are different, but we all have them. For all of us, this has been one of the weirdest and most emotional times of our lives. We all need to learn to demonstrate supportive listening and be appropriately vulnerable with each other, recognizing that while all of our situations are different, they are all difficult in their own way.

3. Be Consistent

Talking about mental health is not a one and done conversation. One way to help people deal with uncertainty is by providing consistency, especially in how and when you communicate. When it comes to the pandemic, more than 90% of people said they wanted at least weekly communication from their company; 29% said they prefer daily communication. When it comes to discussing mental health specifically, people say that far and away the most effective form of company communication is a phone call directly from one’s manager. Employees who say their manager is not good at communicating are 23% more likely to experience mental health declines. Regular, consistent communication from managers is essential to ensuring people feel supported.

4. Keep a Constant Pulse

It’s not just about helping our managers take care of their teams, we need to take care of our managers as well — and we need to do it while keeping a constant pulse on the company as a whole. To best do that at scale, companies should be sending a regular employee pulse survey to understand how each team, department, and the company as a whole are doing. This is not a moment to be reactive as a leader: You need to get ahead of trends and understand the sentiment of your workforce so you can take action quickly.

Our study found that nearly one in three employees say their team does not maintain informal contact while working from home. People who are lacking informal contact are 19% more likely to report a decline in mental health since the pandemic began. So much of this stems from the fact that with so many people quarantined in their own homes, we have lost the opportunity for watercooler conversations and impromptu run-ins that give us energy and spark new ideas and collaboration. We can’t replicate that exactly, but we have seen many of our teams hosting virtual happy hours to end the week or having a virtual lunch where people can just catch up, share stories, and maintain connection. By regularly running employee pulse surveys you can begin to spot problems early.

5. Communicate Available Resources

Lastly, make sure you are very clear about the mental health resources available to everyone at your company. Almost half of workers said their company has not proactively shared what mental health resources are available to them. To be sure, some people want and need to leverage those resources, but many more people just want to know that the resources are there. As we noted, people don’t do well with uncertainty. That’s why just knowing that resources are available goes a long way to ease anxiety and stress. People who said their company has proactively shared how to access mental health resources are 60% more likely to say that their company cares about their wellbeing.

The mental health crisis stemming from Covid-19 is serious and will be with us for some time to come. Let’s approach it with compassion, honesty, and openness. We will emerge from this as better leaders, better people, and better companies.

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7 Ways to Earn Respect as a New Leader

Guest post from Peter Economy:
Are you newly promoted? A recent leadership hire? Slowly advancing in your company or organization?
When youre the new leader on the block, earning respect from peers and employees who dont even know you can certainly be a struggle. A higher leadership status wont automatically give you the authority or trust with your people that you need to get things done. You’ll have to earn that authority and trust to become an effective and successful leader or boss.
New leaders are stepping up every day. If youre one of them, here are 7 ways that will bring you a level of respect that is meaningful and well-deserved.
1. Have an open door. Let your colleagues and employees know you are always available for them. The last thing you want is for the people you are leading to think you are unapproachable and unavailable, so let them know their wants, needs, and feedback are valued and a priority for you. If you are out of the office a lot, be sure to provide your people easy ways to contact you by phone, email, text messages, or other forms of communication.
2. Appreciate effort. It is surely demotivating for employees when their hard work doesn’t seem to be appreciated by the organizations that employ them, or the men and women who lead them. Let workers know that you have noticed their effort, and even make a point of rewarding it when appropriate.
3. Care about employee well-being. Respect is easily earned when you show how much you care about the well-being and success of your peers and employees, both collectively and individually. Listen to what your team is saying whenever they discuss work or personal matters.
4. Be personable. Not everyone has to be your best friend, but a respectable leader is often a personable one. A focus of yours as a new leader should be to strengthen your relationships with those around you. Be aware of your own behavior and the way you come across to others. Be helpful, welcoming, and pleasant. Keep your relationships positive and amicable and success will surely follow.
5. Provide a real sense of autonomy. If you’re a boss who micromanages, the people who work for you will invariably become frustrated because you’re sending a loud-and-clear message that you don’t trust their ability to do the work. Trust the people you’re leading to make the right moves and do their work well and empower them when possible.
6. Be consistent. Follow through with what you say you’re going to do. Be on time to meetings so your employees aren’t twiddling their thumbs, waiting for you do show. Stick to deadlines. Don’t tell others to do one thing and then you do another. People will respect you more if they know you don’t offer only empty promises!
7. Be patient. New leaders require a great amount of patience—both with their teams and with themselves. Learning effective management will not happen overnight; it takes time (and, sometimes, mistakes) for you to learn the ropes and for others to acclimate to a new leader. Don’t worry—stick with it and you’ll get there.
Peter Economy is the bestselling author of Managing for Dummies (more than 600,000 copies sold globally) and is The Leadership Guy at INC.COM who averages more than 500,000 page views a month for his more than 1,500 columns published to date. He routinely works with C-level executives, executive coaches, and business consultants worldwide. His new book is called Wait, I’m the Boss?!?

10 MANDAMIENTOS DEL ESTOICISMO – Motivación Estoica con Marco Aurelio, Séneca, Epicteto, Epicuro…

10 MANDAMIENTOS DEL ESTOICISMO - Motivación Estoica con Marco Aurelio, Séneca, Epicteto, Epicuro...

Este vídeo de motivación recoge 10 mandamientos del estoicismo que no puedes pasar por alto. Hoy reúno a todos los vengadores del pensamiento estoico: Marco Aurelio, Séneca, Epicteto, Zenón de Citio, Cicerón, etc. Además, traigo a algunos invitados especiales como Epicureo, Platón o Aristóteles. ¿No es acaso el mejor crossover que has visto en tu vida? 😉
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Después de cada triunfo del Imperio Romano, la mayoría del pueblo dirigía su mirada al victorioso general que marcharía al frente de su poderoso ejército; reconocimiento, honor, gloria y prestigio: ¿qué más se podría pedir? Sin embargo, tras el elitismo social se hallaba la tímida voz de un ayudante anónimo, desconocido e ignorado por la masa popular que, en mitad del eufórico bullicio, le susurró al comandante: “recuerda, tú también morirás”.

Ante dicha aserción, el comandante parafraseó una frase de un tal Lucio Anneo Séneca que corría por la ciudad: “Vivamos como si hubiera llegado el final de nuestras vidas”. A pesar de su amarga apariencia, son recordatorios como este los que uno necesita más a menudo, no sólo en momentos de celebración, sino en la más absoluta desesperación. Sí, consumimos cada ápice de nuestra existencia ignorando el más obvio de los pensamientos por completo y, para colmo, hacemos todo lo posible para fingir que no es cierto. Muy a menudo, nuestro ego rehúye de cualquier objeto – ya sea concreto o abstracto – que nos haga entrever que la realidad externa está en disputa con nuestra narrativa interna.