Matthews, North Carolina--In the recent article, A leader's guide: Communicating with teams, stakeholders, and communities during COVID-19, international management consulting firm McKinsey & Company stresses the importance of communication in addressing the desire for transparency and guidance during times of crisis. According to the article, "at such times, a leader's words and actions can help keep people safe, help them adjust and cope emotionally, and help them put their experience into context and draw meaning from it."
Recognizing the importance of providing accurate, comprehensive and timely information, George Comfort, Executive Director of Windsor Run, an Erickson Living managed community in Matthews, NC, utilizes a variety of communication tools, most notably, in-house television channel 1391, to educate and engage community members throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
"During this unprecedented time, Windsor Run TV (WR-TV) serves as a primary communication resource in our efforts to keep our community members and staff fully informed," says Mr. Comfort. "WR-TV also provides us the unique ability to provide entertainment and exercise programming which goes a long way in keeping our community members engaged and connected."
Spreading the word
Even before Governor Roy Cooper issued the stay at home order for the entire State of North Carolina as a result of COVID-10 on March 27, staff at Windsor Run were already communicating important community-wide safety precautions to residents. Daily letters and community-wide informational voice messages ensured that updates and information were received in a timely matter.
In April, WR-TV premiered, bringing with it a new tool for timely communication. As a trusted leader in the Windsor Run community, Mr. Comfort began videotaping a weekly program, providing timely information regarding COVID-19, community response and important precautionary measures.
"The whole WR-TV venture has been a great success," says community member Courtney Layne. "A big thank you to George Comfort for keeping us safe."
Each week WR-TV viewership continues to grow as Mr. Comfort, along with Associate Executive Director Bo Lundh, address everything from meal preparation, mask-wearing requirements and physical distancing measures. In his most recent program, Mr. Comfort provided updates on entering phase one of opening, screening measures and transportation scheduling.
"I am thankful for George's very informative community update," says community member Marsha Greenberg. "Thank you to all the staff for taking such great care of us. Everyone has gone above and beyond to keep us safe."
In early July, WR-TV premiered the community's first online town hall meeting, enabling all residents the opportunity to take part in the important presentation.
"We are thankful for the great town hall meeting," says Courtney. "George did a wonderful job. It was so good to have such a meeting virtually."
In addition to the important community-wide updates, Windsor Run also provides additional WR-TV programming, including exercise classes, virtual walking tours and concerts. The station also aired special presentations in honor of pet month, security appreciation week, Memorial Day, National Donut Day, National Juggling Day and the Windsor Run Pride Parade in honor of Pride Week. In recognition of Windsor Run's graduating high school senior employees, WR-TV aired a week-long special showcasing the student's important contributions to the community.
Windsor Run's resident life staff also utilize WR-TV as they adapt the community's vast activities calendar to an online platform. For example, exercise classes that were typically held in Windsor Run's fitness center at are now carefully selected exercise programs aired on WR-TV.
"We are doing everything we can to keep people engaged in the same healthy lifestyle they enjoyed prior to COVID-19," says Windsor Run's Resident Services Coordinator, Becky Dinello. "One of the ways we do that is my helping residents keep to their existing routine. Broadcasting on WR-TV helps us achieve that goal."
Daily programming includes a stretch and flex class with Timothy Dean, Windsor Run's Fitness Specialist, a behind the scenes look at a variety of staff services, bingo, chair yoga, musical specials and religious programming on the weekends.
"We are continually looking for ways to be creative and inventive with our programming," says Ms. Dinello. "We recently spotlighted our popular St. Gabriel's project (an intergenerational partnership with the local elementary school) and a look at our dining services team in action."
For their part, Windsor Run community members are appreciative of the open lines of communication designed to keep them safe and informed.
"Everyone is working so hard to keep us healthy and happy," says community member Nicky Driscoll. "I keep patting myself on the back for being smart enough to pick Windsor Run to spend my golden years. There is no place on earth I would rather be. Thank you to everyone on staff, you are truly my heroes."
About Windsor Run: Windsor Run, situated on a scenic 60-acre campus in Matthews, North Carolina, is one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®. The community is home to more than 450 residents who are supported by a team of more than 110 employees. Additional information about Windsor Run can be found at WindsorRunCommunity.com.