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The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected millions of individuals and businesses globally. The outbreak has led to changes in several workplaces and relationships among co-workers while altering different lifestyles. To a large extent, there has been increased stress, decreased workplace morale, and a lack of team cohesion, all of which affect performance and productivity. A UK study has proposed business closures amid a shift to online shopping, among others. If you have a business and are looking for ways to support your employees all through the pandemic, here are a few tips to guide you.
- Maintain routine catch-ups with your team
Although current work settings can make things a bit challenging, it’s a worthwhile investment to ensure consistent catch-ups among your teams to guarantee a sense of connection. Regular contact among the employees promotes team rapport and offers you a medium to engage and understand your staff. The more you remain in tune with your team, the easier it becomes to notice if any member is experiencing any difficulty. Even if you’re remote working, there are numerous online platforms like Zoom or FaceTime to help you engage your staff.
- Be alert for any signs of stress
To understand how your workers are coping through the chaos, you may have to intentionally look out for any changes in their demeanour, provided you still engage your employees in person. Other indicators like body language can be a good sign of their mood, just like underlying email tones, phone calls, and team response swiftness. Changes in attitude and workplace productivity can also be a strong indicator of something going amiss.
Yet, it’s fair to understand that changes in productivity levels may be due to staff adjusting to present workplace changes. Measuring productivity during standard workplace settings can be most reliable. Yet, with the current volatile environment, it’s best to reassure your team that current productivity levels are normal to ease the pressure on them.
- Set up consistent meetings with the staff you’re concerned about
If you notice any sign of your team requiring support, follow up immediately and ensure to do so in a one-on-one setting. If possible, schedule a phone or video interaction and encourage them to open up on their true feelings. Quickly engaging your affected staff at the early stage is key to managing the situation and making interaction easier. When speaking to the affected staff, go for open-ended questions to encourage them to speak up so you can have a good view of what could be affecting them.
Be responsive to any affected staff and, if possible, grant them some days off or consider moderating their responsibilities to reduce the immediate work pressure. You may likewise consider other assistance programs to help them through.
- Don’t relegate your mental health
It’s easier to get carried away during difficult periods, focusing on your staff’s well-being and forgetting about yourself. However, you can’t offer any better assistance if you’re not in a good state yourself. Ensure you give yourself the needed break as well and confide in a trusted associate with good knowledge in your career situation if need be. Be open about your challenges and experiences both at work and outside. Being honest about your experiences and acknowledging difficulties in managing problems is a great way to help your team get comfortable to share their experiences. When necessary, utilize all in-house and outside channels to address your challenges.
- Trust your team with new responsibilities
While this may seem counterintuitive, remote staff in a study admitted to feeling motivated when offered new responsibilities even amidst company struggles during the pandemic. This entails taking up managerial responsibilities when team leaders or superiors are faced with extra work to develop new initiatives. Existing staff could take the responsibility to mentor colleagues or new staff due to their experience and expertise. Although this inspires employees’ confidence, it’s ideal for offering staff training on new skills and tools to enhance their efficiency. Additionally, training can keep staff happy and motivated to deliver more on their respective roles.
- Show appreciation
One of the simplest yet effective ways to get the most out of your staff is to show appreciation. Several studies have proposed recognizing employee efforts and praising them for good work done. A short statement like “thank you for an excellent job done” or acknowledgement via email goes a long way to affect team performance positively. For others, declaration in front of the whole team or offering the chance to work closely with business or team leaders is more effective.
While the pandemic has plunged businesses into unexpected challenges, it has offered business owners and leaders a chance to reconsider their strategies and explore ways to actively implement an all-inclusive and supportive approach for their staff and business in general.