Many workers have had their daily routines disrupted by the spread of COVID-19. For key workers, the pressure has never been higher. For others, the option of working at all is no longer possible. And for many of us, it’s a case of business but not as we know it. The usual process has been turned on its head, but employees still need to retain productivity while working from home.
This can take its toll on team members both mentally and emotionally, and it’s up to employers to ensure that their staff are comfortable and clear when it comes to the new arrangement. If you’re a small business owner, here are 5 key ways to put being a good leader into practice during the coronavirus crisis.
Circumstances now call for workers to stay at home with their loved ones, so you should make it clear to them that this needs to be their priority. Encourage parents to spend time with their children, and advocate a healthy work-life balance to all your employees. When working remotely, it can be harder for staff to draw the line between work time and down time, so encourage them to get their family hours in as well as their work hours.
Regular meetings via phone or video are important right now, but you shouldn’t just use them as a chance to talk shop. Spending a few minutes at the start of every meeting catching up with your team and asking them how they’re doing can go a long way. It’s difficult for employees to open up without invitation, so make the effort to ask them about their current situation and how they’re feeling about it.
We may all be self-isolating as per government instruction, but this physical isolation doesn’t have to become an emotional and mental one too. Regular check-ins with your staff are absolutely vital during this time, as it shows that you care about more than just the workflow. Whether it’s a weekly conference call or a daily email, taking the time to ask after team members is more important than ever right now. You should also be encouraging employees to keep in touch with each other too.
Don’t use virtual meetings as a chance just to give orders. If your employees have any thoughts on how best they could be using their time, it’s important that you hear them out. It may be that they have ideas which you haven’t thought of yourself, or maybe they simply have concerns about the tasks they’ve currently got in front of them. By listening to their thoughts, you’ll be able to calm any worries and clarify any uncertainties.
Speaking of uncertainty, this is the main source of anxiety for most remote workers right now. Factors like not going into the office, working flexibly and keeping in touch via a screen rather than face-to-face are perfectly fine for most employees, but it’s the events which have made these factors necessary that will be causing stress.
To counter this, it’s important for employers to be clear and upfront about the state of the business. If you’re likely to lose clients, make changes or even temporarily dismiss staff members, you need to be honest about this. That way, you and your team can work through issues together in the best way possible.
Register for the DABS programme today.