The coronavirus pandemic has created a lot of worry and stress, and as the leader of the business, your employees look to you. It’s important to keep morale up during the pandemic. Your workers are probably all very worried, and the strain of not knowing how long the situation will last can really weigh on people. That’s why caring for your workers during the pandemic needs to be a priority. Here are a few tips.
How to help your employees during the pandemic.
1. Remember that communication is key.
When you’re talking or communicating with your team, take care with the tone you use. You need to be calm and reassuring while also being clear and truthful about the situation. Keep your team informed, but be sure that you’re sharing trustworthy information from trustworthy sources, like the CDC or WHO. (And for that matter, make sure that you stay up-to-date on current facts and that you’re getting your updates from reliable sources, too!)
Your team probably wants to know where the situation stands, which is why communicating with them about what you and the management team are doing is so essential. You might not have a crystal ball to see when things will be “normal” again, but you can help allay fears by keeping communication going with your team. (Make sure you’re coordinating across departments, too.)
2. Do video meetings.
Rather than just sending emails upon emails, consider having video meetings. That way your employees can actually see each other. This can raise the team’s spirits, and you can give updates and give your team the opportunity to ask questions. It can help to see people’s faces and have some social interaction.
3. Be understanding.
It’s also important to show that you understand that things aren’t normal at the moment. People might need to have different hours, or they might be juggling taking care of their kids. Encourage people to approach you with their concerns, and listen with compassion and understanding. Make adjustments and arrangements to meet your employees halfway – people appreciate feeling heard, and treating people with understanding helps them feel valued. And that in turn can help keep morale up.
4. Keep the workplace clean.
Another thing is to make it clear that you prioritize your employees’ safety and health. If your employees have to go in to work and can’t work from home, make sure that your employees know they can and should stay home if they’re feeling ill and that they won’t be penalized for it. It’s also really important to clean and disinfect the workplace thoroughly and frequently – particularly surfaces that are touched a lot. Provide plenty of wipes and hand sanitizers to make the workplace as clean as can be. You can give your employees at least a little peace of mind and help them feel a little bit better. Show your team that their health and well-being is a Priority A item.
5. Have management check in with employees individually.
In addition to having big team meetings, have managers check in with their team members individually. That way your employees have the opportunity to share their concerns and updates with their manager without everyone else listening. It helps people know that they’re cared about and valued if someone is checking in with them – not in a “are you getting work done?” way, but in a “how are you doing and how can I help?” way. Let your team know that management supports them and wants to be there for them.
6. Encourage your team to stay in touch.
People need to have social interaction. Encourage your employees to have virtual team hang-outs so they can just talk, catch up, and chat about how they and their families are doing. Of course, these get-togethers have to adhere to social distancing guidelines, so you might be limited to video calls, but it can help people feel connected to each other. Even though they might not be in the same workplace, where they get to interact with each other every day, they can still keep in touch and hang out.
7. Understand where the business stands.
A lot of people are worried about the financial side of things during the pandemic. It’s important to let your employees know where the business stands, being honest while being reassuring. You might need to strategize about how you can keep your employees on their feet financially speaking. If letting people go is inevitable, try to do what you can to help them through the transition.
8. Have a plan if people need time off.
With employees needing to take sick days or personal days to care for their families, your employees might need to have time off. And that means there’s a possibility that you’ll have a lot of people out at once. So, have a plan for if that happens. That way you can manage the situation in a way that doesn’t put more stress on the employees who are able to work. It’s important that your employees take time off if they’re not feeling well – they shouldn’t worry about consequences for needing to take sick leave.
This is an extremely stressful time for everyone, and that’s why taking care of your employees and your response to the crisis is so important. People remember how they’re treated during difficult times – whether they were treated with compassion, with understanding, and with kindness. If you make an effort to help people feel better during this time, it’ll make a big difference.
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