The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions to many aspects of daily life, including work. If you are managing a team that is working remotely due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you and your employees may find the transition from coming into a workspace every day to working from home difficult.
Staying connected while showing compassion are great ways to boost team morale during this uncertain time.
Make a point of checking in often. People’s health and wellbeing is a priority during a public health crisis like COVID-19. Set a daily reminder in your calendar to reach out to your team to ask how they’re doing both physically and emotionally. Remember that people may be experiencing stress or anxiety about their own health, the health of their loved ones, economic uncertainty, and the general state of the world.
Ensure everyone has what they need to be productive. Having the right equipment to work can help reduce frustration and boost productivity. Ask your human resources (HR) department about company policies on laptops, monitors, keyboards, or other necessities. Be sure to share key contact information in case they need to troubleshoot or have tech issues when using the specific systems.
Stay transparent. Your team likely has many questions around company policies. Share what information you can and let them know who they can reach out to in order to get answers to specific questions.
Use technology to stay connected. Communication is key when remote working. If you use work chat programs like Slack or Teams, set up a dedicated channel for your team. You can also use meeting software like Zoom and GoToMeeting to conduct regular check-ins and make meetings that would normally be in-person virtual.
Go “video on” for virtual meetings. Consider asking everyone on your calls to turn on their laptop cameras. Being able to see the people you’re speaking to can help you read body language and see expressions. It can also be helpful in making people who may be practicing social distancing or self-isolation feel more connected to others.
Create space for socializing. While meetings and phone calls are important, they’re far from the only socializing that is done during the working day. Your team may be missing things like casual conversations in the break room or work socials. You can facilitate these by hosting coffee breaks on video chat. You may also want to open up an informal channel, such as a #random Slack channel or other forum, to allow team members to share photos of their at-home workspaces, their pets, etc.
Encourage your team to use the assistance program. Shifting from working in a traditional workspace to working from home can be a major change. If any of your employees show signs of stress, worry, or anxiety, remind them that the assistance program is there for them. They can speak to a caring counsellor who can offer them support and help them through this change.