As an employer, you understand the importance of a cohesive staff team to ensure that your business is successful. The emergence of Covid-19 has forced startups across the globe to reconsider their business models and ways of working. As governments instructed people to work from home, new ventures have had to adapt to remote working. While working from home can sound like a dream for many employees, others struggle with the lack of camaraderie and worry about being productive. Heightened anxieties because of a global pandemic alongside worries about employment can lead to your staff team feeling concerned about their jobs.
As a boss, you need to facilitate a way of working that empowers your employees to be productive and feel safe and secure in their roles. The pastoral aspect of being an employer is coming into its own in 2020. Businesses are having to make difficult decisions with regards to redundancy, hiring, and cutting costs. However, you cannot leave your employees out of the loop. They need to be part of your journey throughout this global pandemic, wherever this may take you. Take a look at how the coronavirus pandemic has forced us to be better bosses and care even more about our employees.
The chances are that you have never communicated so readily with your staff team. You may have been forced to adapt your ways of working so that you become very much an online business. This has meant that you have utilized the services of Microsoft Teams, Skype, or Zoom to communicate with your staff. As times are more uncertain than ever, it is crucial that you have a meeting at least twice a week with your team. A Monday morning briefing is vital to inform your team of the week’s targets, tell them about new initiatives, and ask their opinions on business-specific topics. Listening is a key part of communicating, so ensure that you take note of their views and ideas, and act upon them if necessary.
Ensure that you have an open virtual door policy with your employees. They need to feel confident in talking to you about any concerns that they may have. Be transparent and honest. Don’t be afraid of saying that you don’t know the answer to their questions if you are not sure. They will respect your honesty.
Keep things as structured and as normal as possible. Send out that Friday email to namecheck those individuals who have gone above and beyond. This positive praise will continue to motivate and leave your staff with a high level of morale. Because the office camaraderie is lost, consider setting up a fortnightly virtual social where the formality of the workplace is not apparent, and you can emulate the after-work drinks virtually. It’s not unheard of for companies to set up virtual pub quizzes, set up virtual book clubs, and simply chat in an open and informal forum. Caring for your employees is about giving them safe spaces to rant, vent, and talk outside of a work context.
Working from home brings with it a whole host of potential pitfalls. Not being able to connect to a VPN or network can have a detrimental impact on productivity. If you are worried about your data, ensure that you consider a database migration service to improve system performance and adopt reliable cloud based services. The cloud storage facility will enable seamless sharing of data amongst your staff team.
If you are worried about security, you can still limit the access to certain files and leave these on a need to see basis. Ensure that your cybersecurity training is refreshed even if this is virtually, and ensure that working from home is a positive step forward in your quest to futureproof your venture. You can still ensure that passwords are strong and that your team don’t open those dodgy looking email attachments. Set up a work from home policy, stating that working in coffee shops is a no-no, and that working remotely means hooking up to a wholly secure connection. Your team still needs decent hardware to do their roles effectively, so ensure that you provide it.
As lockdowns ease and the world begins to open up once more, your staff may be nervous about returning to the office. While social distancing is still in place, you may have to organize attendance on a rota based system to ensure enough space between individuals. Ensure that you boost confidence in your health and safety systems by sending out newsletters and communications about what you will put in place to facilitate a safe environment. Ensure that you have hand sanitizer stations, back to back working, the elimination of hot desking, and face coverings available for those who require them.
Your office once needed to facilitate a buzzy, happy, and dynamic atmosphere. You swapped the desktop booths for collaborative working pods, you added touches of greenery, and you went for a Scandinavian and achingly cool, vintage decor scheme to inspire your workforce. While you need to maintain these comforts and this familiarity, you also need to provide a level of safety that you have never encountered before.
Your staff team need to feel cared for, especially when their mental well being is being tested during a global pandemic. Ensure that you allow your team some leeway. If they have vulnerable people at home or they need to shield, give them the opportunity to remain working remotely. They will appreciate the vote of confidence in their work ethic and will respond with productive working and high standards of work.
As an employer, it can be challenging to adapt in a global pandemic. A new normal has been thrust upon us and you are concerned about surviving these testing times. Adapting at breakneck speed may result in you leaving your employees behind or thinking about them less. Don’t fall into this trap and ensure that you heed what the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us about employee well being.