While we’re all away from each other for the time being, it’s really important to make sure your employees are supported as much as possible.
For the businesses that can keep moving through the crisis: staff are your most important asset. They need to stay happy, healthy and connected throughout if they’re able to work.
We previously looked at remote work for everyone - how to make it work in terms of self-care and communication. This post is more of a cultural guide for managers and business owners to helping employees feel safe, valued and connected.
So to get you in the right mindset for keeping your company culture positive while remote, here’s a few ideas.
We covered the specifics of staying connected in our previous piece on remote work - it helps keep your business and projects moving as they should, and boost employee wellbeing.
One of the best ways of building connection with employees is to share when good things happen.
Celebrate successes by sharing a “well done!” either one-on-one or to the group. If someone achieves something, let them know you’re grateful - it can have a great impact on their mood and that of the team.
And it’s not just the big wins - the small things count too, and even just completing tasks as usual is something to celebrate at the moment. So remember to share the love.
Doing it earlier on is a good idea too, as it’ll provide a positive mood boost that lasts through the day.
Be honest about your financial situation
While you won’t be able to predict the long-term future, you will have a better idea of what’ll happen than your employees. It’s important to share them in times like these.
People want reassurance in uncertain times. Giving reassurance that people’s jobs are safe for the time being, and you’ll support them however you can, is vital.
If you have to reduce the amount of staff on your payroll, make sure you consider all your options first. There are numerous government schemes designed to help you weather the storm and protect jobs - the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for Employees, Employers and Businesses is your best place to find out about them.
Not only is it the humane thing to do, protecting people as much as possible now will pay dividends down the line - you’ll have less pressure in recruiting and training new staff later on, your brand reputation won’t suffer, and you’ll be remembered as one of the good ones.
It’s inevitable we’ll be going back to business in some form. Not business as usual - things will be different, and some companies won’t be around any more - but the wheels of commerce will start to spin again. Nobody knows when, but things can't stop forever.
Think about new ways to support your staff
You might benefit from stepping back a little. Take off your manager hat and spend a moment thinking of your staff as fellow humans; friends and neighbours. How can you help?
Creative thinking is going to pay off here.
You can also look at bringing in outside support like online mental health consultations.
These kinds of things are only effective if the basics are taken care of, of course - money, shelter, connection - but can be a huge boost to mood and mental state. Providers like Sanctus are rapidly pivoting to online delivery of their talking therapy and coaching, which could turn out to be a really useful investment in your team.
Learn as you go
This is a useful lesson for companies in any time, but particularly now.
You could call it experimentation, rapid iteration, or ‘black box thinking’.
In other words - learn from your mistakes. And if things aren’t working - change them. Ask your staff what's working for them and what isn't.
Getting used to this is certainly a work in progress. It’s okay that not everything goes right straight away. We’re all still settling in to this new way of working.
Just don’t let your ego get in the way and stubbornly enforce policies or processes that aren’t popular. Leadership entails being decisive, and that sometimes means admitting things aren’t working, and changing direction.
In case you missed it, here’s our guide to keeping healthy and connected while remote working.