During these difficult and uncertain times of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the world has been faced with challenges it's never seen before. Companies have been put under stress meaning many workers have been furloughed, while the rest have faced a requirement to work from home.
While working from home presents many positives and was considered a privilege prior to COVID-19, it’s now the norm for most organisations who’ve had to work around social isolation.
Lockdown has not only affected the way in which we live, but our mental health too. That’s why it’s important businesses ensure each and every employee has the support they need during these uncertain times. We’ve provided our top tips for supporting your employees virtually:
1. Have regular catch-ups
The key to supporting employees begins with staying in touch. Working from home can feel very lonely and isolating with no coworkers surrounding you, that’s why it’s important to have daily check-ins with your team to keep spirits up.
Don’t just email someone, use apps like Slack or Zoom and spend 10 minutes on a video call. Checking in with employees face-to-face is more effective as it makes it more personal and shows you’re willing to put in the time and effort to offer your support.
2. Enjoy non-work related social interactions
While working at home can be beneficial for productivity, it also means you can’t meet your coworkers for lunch to socialise. It can also become increasingly difficult to keep in contact when you’re not in the same space and all your conversations become about work. It’s beneficial to gather as a team for a virtual team quiz or a Friday afternoon bingo session to keep spirits high and encourage social interaction.
3. Provide emotional support
Learn to recognise when your employees need that extra emotional support. That might be having a coworker help with a particular task to help alleviate the pressure, or simply lend an ear so they have a safe space to let their frustrations out - most likely you’ll already have the answer to solve their worries. Even the smallest act can go a long way to making your employees feel supported.
4. Give recognition
Many companies are under stress due to COVID-19 and these worldwide lockdown restrictions, therefore staff are having to work harder than usual to keep companies running. One thing you can do to reward employees is by giving recognition. Announcing an employee of the month on your social media channels and providing a framed certificate are just small ways you can make a difference to your staff and their careers.
5. Give your team a routine
Flexi-time has become increasingly popular in recent years, while working from home it’s important to set routine work hours for all employees and ensure everyone has a designated workspace where they can separate work and home life.
6. Offer wellbeing services
While we’re all on lockdown, services such as Wellness Suites and Yoga classes can’t be continued, you can employ mental health professionals who can hold one-on-one video calls with your staff to help with their mental health issues.
Another effective service you can provide is by sending small care packages out to your employees to remind them they’re not alone.
Recommending wellbeing apps could also be extremely helpful to support your employees and help them self-manage their mental health. Apps such as Calm and Headspace are excellent for reducing stress and anxiety with the help of breathing techniques and meditation.
7. Ensure your team have the right technology
There’s nothing worse than having a high-pressured job and having to juggle a multitude of tasks whilst working with only one screen. Ensure all your staff have the same equipment at home as they do in work to prevent tasks taking longer due to limited technological resources. Having the right technology in place ensures efficiency but it's equally as important to have the right seating equipment to prevent any physical health issues.
8. Trust your employees
One thing many employers don’t recognise is when they’re micromanaging their staff. By all means, set expectations for efficiency and productivity, but learn to trust your staff to complete tasks in a timely manner.
There is such a thing as checking in too much which can lead to employees feeling distrusted, more anxious about taking the lead on projects and an overall lack of enthusiasm. By creating a trustful environment, you’re naturally creating staff who will stay curious and produce better results.
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