With ongoing coronavirus concerns and stay-at-home restrictions, many, if not all of your employees may now be working from home. For some employees, this may create additional stress. Now is a good time to think about how you can keep your team productive and invested.
Check in often
Your team needs to hear from you. They’re facing unique circumstances, such as working with children underfoot and keeping up with their schooling, sharing work space, and possibly dealing with financial worries, just to name a few. Understanding their situation can empower you to remove barriers to productivity and ensure goals are met. Here are some ideas:
Email a questionnaire to find out how work is going. Ask questions like: Are you having technical difficulties? Are there communication breakdowns within the team? Are you getting enough information about the company’s future plans for remote work?
Schedule personal check-ins with your direct reports. Ask them about their challenges and how their families are faring overall. If your company offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or other help, remind them how to access those resources.
Increase video chats and virtual meetings. Being confined to home can lead to feelings of isolation, as well as depression. While it’s no substitute for in-person interaction, connecting virtually can help combat loneliness and lead to better team communication.
Watch for signs of burnout
The risk of your employees overworking is something to keep an eye on.
Reassess your goals. Some goals that existed before the pandemic may no longer make sense. You may need to re-evaluate and revise them. But be realistic. Team members may now be working two other full-time jobs: childcare provider and teacher. Even those without children more than likely are facing challenges for which none of us were prepared.
Set clear expectations. What must be accomplished this week? Can any items move down on the priority list? Knowing what to prioritize can help lower your employees’ stress levels and keep them focused.
Encourage healthy boundaries. When people work from home the line between work time and personal time can get blurry, eventually leading to a sense of being “always on.” Setting work hours and sticking to them can keep employees refreshed, creative and productive.
Help them know we’ll get through it, together
We all could use some extra encouragement right now. When employees know their boss is in their corner, the reward is loyalty, productivity and quality work. Whether your office is soon to reopen, or if you’ll be working remotely long-term, with good communication you and your team can get through this together.
Telecommuting will likely continue long after the pandemic (accessed April 2020)
A Guide to Managing Your (Newly) Remote Workers (accessed April 2020)