We do not expect it, but sometimes we find ourselves in uncharted waters. We are all on our toes due to the recent COVID-19 crisis. Things are changing each day and we must adapt to it whether we like it or not.
We all want a safe environment to work during an emergency, here are several things to consider:
Ease the Pressure
Whether you are a manager or an employee, you both feel the stress when things are not going according to plan.
During stressful times, it is the responsibility of the manager/leader to minimize the stress levels. Motivating employees in a positive way will promote a healthy atmosphere and maximize productivity, even though overall progress will be lower than normal.
Acknowledge things will not be the same, accept that your employees are distracted and show empathy in order to create an emotional safety net.
Resources Available to Employees
During times of need, your employees may not be aware of the resources available to them. Provide a quick reminder of the types of resources available to them, also, including a few newly created resources is helpful to ease their minds. Some of these resources may include:
Access to counseling via an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Financial wellness coaching
Mental health programs
Company discounts on essential items
Financial funding for emergencies (I.E. Coronavirus)
Sending regular reminders to your employees and connecting them to resources that will be helpful now or at some point in the future, will reinforce that you care for their wellbeing.
During uncertain times, the best practice is open and honest communication.
Employees must be informed and kept up to date with important issues and changes. It is paramount to ensure leaders and managers are available for questions/concerns and willing to give straight, honest answers.
It is important to have frequent surveys/feedback throughout the year to ensure the well-being of the employees, as there will be always improvements to ensure you have happy employees.
Sharing news with all employees should be done straightforwardly and truthfully and it can be discussed openly. It is hard to be transparent when bad news is around the corner, but by giving frequent information and updates while being honest can instill confidence among your employees and will prevent misinformation and rumours from disrupting morale or organizational initiatives. Acknowledge the concern and uncertainty people may experience through the changes happening.
Depending on the crisis, having your employees work remotely is good. But there are many employees who do not have that luxury, such as frontline workers. It is important to implement a safe plan to ensure the wellbeing of your employees who are still going into the workplace ensuring business as usual. For example, providing safety training and appropriate safety wear to your employees will ensure they are safe while doing their work.
You may to adjust the operating hours and scheduling of employees to ensure no burnouts are occurring. Staggering your employees working schedules can help deliver solutions depending your business model. Ensure your employees across all job levels have the right equipment needed to get their work done.
Create an emergency fund that can be used to help many of your employees during a crisis. Depending on the severity of the situation, you can use the fund as a financial resource to help your employees during times of need. Whether you need to scale back hours or help a parent juggling childcare while working from home, you can use the emergency fund to help ease the tension and show how much you care about your employees.
Host Meetings and Maintain Contact
Creating meetings without an organized agenda can be greatly beneficial to your employees, especially when sharing feelings and concerns. In some cases, physical meetings cannot be conducted therefore virtual meetings can be done.
Trying to keep things as normal as you can help provide mental relief for your team. Checking up on your team and other departments can create a stronger sense of unity.
Letting your employees know that selfcare is just as important as work is vital, without your employees your business does not exist.
Your employees are often like a family. Show sincere interest in them as an individual and not just a worker of the company. It will give them a great sense of care and trust in their leader and the organization.
Employees are often stressed from trying to balance work and personal obligations, it helps when the leaders of the company treat employee well-being as a priority. Acknowledging that employees are human and managing other responsibilities outside of work, will help them achieve success both at work and outside of work. Your acknowledgement will show your general concern toward them. Trust them to stay organized and get things done.
Get to know your employees on a personal level. If you notice your employees are having hard time, try to find out what concerns/issues they are having and if there is anything you can help with. Ensuring your employees are happy can reduce the everyday fear and sends a clear message to your employees that you do not have to trade one thing for another, and it is not expected or encouraged.
Caring During a Crisis
During uncertain times, every interaction we have is telling a story about your leadership. Being vulnerable is alright, you are not alone. In fact, your employees are just as worried too. Do not be afraid to share with your team, your concerns, and your thoughts. Exposing the human side of you will help instill trust in your employees and reassure their mental safety.
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