nabs gets ready for a spike in calls for support

Unsurprisingly, it’s been a hectic few weeks at nabs, the not-for-profit that provides support and assistance to people in the marketing industry during times of crisis.

“We’ve never been busier,” says executive director Jay Bertram. “This is exactly what we were made for.” Nabs has already seen an increase in requests for its services, while visits to the website have doubled and calls to its support line (1-888-355-5548) were up 10% in April.

But much like the wave that is crashing into the health care industry, nabs is expecting to see a surge in demand for its services in the next two to four weeks “as the reality of the crisis settles in across our industry,” says Bertram. “This is the front line for our industry for this stuff…This is why we’re busy.”

The organization has been getting ready, launching a new job portal today that connects people who are out of work with employers looking to hire. Counselling sessions, normally delivered in person to individuals or small groups, have been redesigned as webinars delivered to larger groups.

It is also working with a group of HR directors to talk about issues, share best practices and ensure that employees are being directed to nabs services as early as possible. “That’s all happening at once,” says Bertram. “We used to pick those things off one at a time.”

A survey of 250 respondents in English Canada and another 150 in French Canada that was conducted with Mindshare shows that people are most interested in mental wellness assistance, followed by career advice/training, financial counselling and family support.

Nabs and Mindshare are going to run the survey regularly to track changes, and it has already been conducted twice: once between March 25 and April 3, and again between April 3 and April 15.

Asked about their personal mood on the day they answered the survey, respondents could answer great, good, fair, okay or poor. In the most recent survey, 43% said either good (38%) or great (5%), almost identical from the first survey. However, there was a 12% increase in people saying just okay, and a 7% drop in those who said fair. Poor was also up 1% (more survey findings below).

“I think as the reality hits that this is going to go on for two, three, six weeks more, people are starting to get more nervous,” says Bertram, who says it’s vitally important that the industry knows nabs is there to help.

“Typically people would call the support line when they were at their wit’s end, as a last resort,” he says. Instead of waiting to get to that point, Bertram says people should call early so nabs can help them get through those difficult times to the brighter future ahead.

“One of the jobs that we do is to try to put things in perspective for people, so they can see a bridge to the other side,” he said. “That’s clearly a role our counsellors are playing in terms of taking people who see no way out of this, and try to walk them back to feeling ‘Okay, well, there is a path forward. I can get through this.'”

Aside from questions about how they are feeling, nabs asked respondents a bit about how they are working from home. Some of the other findings from the survey include:

  • 54% say they are either a bit less efficient (40%) or much less efficient (14%),
  • However, 14% said they are much more efficient—up from 6% who answered that way in the first wave.
  • 76% they feel nervous about COVID-19, but 34% said they are hopeful.
  • Asked about strategies to achieve work-life balance while working from home, 57% said they are sticking to “set work hours,” while 9% said they have “do not disturb” time for kids.
David Brown