How to support your staff during the COVID-19 crisis
The current situation with COVID-19 is one unlike anything we’ve seen before. The country is at a standstill and everyone is in a strange state of flux. It has been a shock to the system for many UK businesses who have had to adjust to a new way of working (if they can still work at all).
Offices up and down the country sit empty as everyone abides by the government’s orders to stay indoors. Now people are working from home, potentially for the first time. Businesses have had to figure out how remote working fits with their operations and it has been a learning experience, to say the least.
But while running your business might be a strain on you, take a moment to think about how this disrupts your employees. Here is how you can be the most supportive leader during this difficult time.
A new way of working
Prior to this crisis, only 13% of UK employees were working from home regularly. Over half of the UK workforce said they would be more productive if they could work outside the office and now that is being put to the test.
For many, it will be a brand new experience. Before this, they would dream of waking up later and dropping the commute, but now it’s a reality they see remote working comes with its own set of issues. There are things you can do as a leader to make the transition and adjustment easier, meaning productivity doesn’t have to drop off.
Establish a clear line of communication with everyone on your team. Check in with everyone regularly, multiple times a day, just to make sure everything is going smoothly. Whether this is through video calls, regular calls, or instant messaging is up to you – whatever works best with your team.
You could also have morning meetings to go through the day. This serves two purposes: everyone knows where they are up to and the regular interaction can do wonders while everyone is in isolation. That leads us to our next point…
Looking out for your staff
The lockdown will affect everyone in different ways. Some might have significant others to interact with and some might enjoy the isolation. But some people will find it to be a tough time, especially if they feel stressed about the situation.
So your daily checks are doing more than keeping work organised – they are a chance to make sure your staff are holding up okay. Let them know you’re open to talk and they can adjust their workflow if necessary.
Sometimes a call in the afternoon just for some mindless chit-chat can do wonders for their mental health. And make sure they are taking breaks from work and still respect their work-life balance. With the home also being the workplace, it can become hard to separate one from the other.
It’s a difficult time for everyone, but we can all pull through this together. Your staff will be looking to you as a leader and there is plenty you can do to make it slightly easier. All of this advice goes for you too – make sure you look after yourself. The government has procedures in place to help businesses during this crisis, so don’t be afraid to look for help.
At Big Hand, we want to do what we can to make life easier for you too. We can offer business advice to help you through the coming months and are always open for a chat. Feel free to get in touch on 0161 327 2911.