COMMUNICATE: With your employees regularly about the steps your business is taking to address COVID-19 on their behalf. Providing a summary or review of your current pandemic plan and changes to it in the light of government advice will prove to them that their organisation is supporting their health and well being.
ENGAGE: Stay in contact.
During this period of deep uncertainty, it is essential to stay connected through regular real-time virtual collaboration. Whether it is by tech, phone, or other means, this can help your colleagues feel personally connected, compared to text or email communication. Also, just pick up the phone and talk to them and encourage them to do the same with their colleagues, particularly when they have a problem.
REVIEW: Prepare, and continually review, a work-from-home strategy.
Consult with employees about their working from home arrangements, as well as how work will be conducted differently to enable social distancing and self-isolation. Perhaps ask to see a photo of your employees’ home set-ups, to ensure that it meets health and safety requirements.
TALK: Promote a positive, inclusive culture by setting up regular virtual staff coffee meetings, quizzes and team meetings.
Many workers will have never worked from home. As a result, you need to be proactive in organising social interactions with and among your staff to maintain positive relationships. As a manager, you might even continue to mark birthdays or other milestones via virtual coffee catch ups or after-work drinks. Be creative.
ASSESS: Encourage a healthy work-life balance by setting time limits.
Work-life balance is an essential aspect of an employee’s ability to work safely and productively. You need to agree on working hours that employees know they are not expected to work beyond. Reminding employees to work in ways that are kind to their mind and body will also help to prevent burnout during this challenging time – which is also in your business’ interests.
INSULATE: Educate staff of ways to stay mentally healthy while working from home.
Offer tutorials and tools on mindfulness, webinars on resilience, or merely suggesting employees go for a walk is especially beneficial to their health and wellbeing. In turn, being open and transparent in your interactions with employees also lets them know they are not alone.
NEW THINKING: Recognise contribution and affirm your colleagues and staff.
Everyone is going the extra mile now. Reward the efforts that everyone is making by doing simple things like sending a box of chocolates, flowers or an Amazon Gift Card.
TENACITY: Try to stay positive and innovative during this time.
Your colleagues are relying on you and looking to you for leadership, support and guidance. Perhaps use some of your time every day to reach out to your suppliers and other SMEs via LinkedIn, telephone and video link to proactively engage with them. This time could build new relationships.
YOU: Take care of yourself, your co-directors and team.
Use this time for training and thinking. Find relevant webinars, books, articles and groups that can help you think about your business more clearly so you can re-engineer some of your processes and how your company works. Limit your news consumption to one per day. Maybe even try a Joe Wicks class online every morning?!