How to support your employees during a crisis?
The pandemic has brought lots of anxiety and stress in the world, lots of businesses had to adapt to remote work, employees are now working from the comfort of their homes, with their families and other responsibilities sitting right next to them.
It is crucial to show continuous support to your employees in times like this, to make sure that not only their physical, but their mental health is stable as well. The IT industry has been lucky enough to continue to grow and thrive but that doesn’t mean that stress and anxiety are gone for the people working in it. We will offer you a few tips on how to show support to your employees in a time of uncertainty.
- Your team has switched to working remotely. Now what?
The pandemic has separated people from their workplaces, coworkers and familiar daily routines. Separation and big changes can be though on people and you need to show empathy and understanding in order to make sure everyone’s feeling good.
- Conduct regular checks on your team. Get together every week on a group call, chat, talk about life, a simple “how are you?” will do. If you know your team well enough you’ll be able to tell right away if someone’s not at their best state and you can be there for them. Group calls designate time and place for your team to bond which can be absent considering that they’re not seeing each other in the office anymore.
- Show appreciation. Showing appreciation to your employees, such as saying thank you for a job well done, or sending an email acknowledging their efforts, will give them a sense of validation and will make them feel proud. When migrating to working from home, lots of people become uncertain about their work responsibilities and they are often afraid of not doing enough. Showing that you notice their efforts is a great way to make them feel more secure.
- Give new responsibilities to your employees. This may seem counterintuitive given the circumstances, but some people feel empowered when they are tasked with new responsibilities even while organizations scramble to meet the challenges of the pandemic. This may include mentoring coworkers, or what we at TechPods find very beneficent, asking employees to join when you’re conducting interviews for open roles. These new responsibilities give employees confidence and the opportunity to get to know other colleagues better, making them feel important to the group’s success.
- Mental health
Ensuring your team’s mental health is stable is crucial for good employers during a crisis. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Keep your employees informed about new and upcoming changes as much as possible. Make sure everyone is up to date with the latest changes within the company, encourage them to ask questions and be ready to offer answers and assistance in any situation.
- Ask your employees about their needs during this time. Do not limit this question only to technical gadgets that will make their home office better, ask them if they need a professional to talk to, if they have difficulties with their family budgets etc. Show empathy and understanding to their needs.
- Acknowledge the many emotions that your employees will be experiencing. This is not a normal time, and it is very normal for people to be experiencing anxiety and many different emotions at this time. It is important to acknowledge that and to let your employees know they are not alone.
- Be vulnerable. Show your emotions as well. Just because you are a leader of the team doesn’t mean that you are not a person and you’re not allowed to also feel anxious. If you’re going through that, share with your employees how you’re doing.
- Let your employees know that there is a purpose to why we are all making the changes and sacrifices that we are making right now. That meaning and purpose is to keep each other safe.
- If an employee has COVID-19
- First and foremost, if the employee has been in contact with someone else from the team, provide immediate tests for everyone and encourage them to quarantine themselves for at least 10 days.
- Make sure to be in touch with the sick employee and provide them with as much assistance as possible.
- Provide the affected employees with useful resources on what to do, provide them with any emergency contacts or hospital numbers you think might be helpful.
- Keep employees posted with any information your colleague is willing to share with them on how he/she is doing, if they’re willing to share. Accept that some people don’t want to talk about their condition and just make sure they’re alright.
- After your colleague’s back on track, make sure to give them enough time and resources to adapt, and don’t overwhelm them with questions. You could however try to encourage them to share about their experience, so that the rest of the team can be informed.
Organizations have an opportunity to improve employee experience during the return phase of the COVID-19 crisis by shifting from a focus on meeting health and safety needs to a more nuanced approach that recognizes differences among the workforce. Businesses did not anticipate a global pandemic in roadmap planning, so now is the time to lead through your company’s values.