It’s a strange time for employers and employees alike, and good communication is vital
There’s no doubt we’re living through unprecedented times. For businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned the business-as-usual routine on its head, with remote working, video teleconferencing and flexible working hours becoming the new norm.
This has brought its own set of challenges for both employers and employees. Employees are worried about job security and maintaining a work/life balance, while employers are keen to ensure that productivity stays high – and on top of this we’re all worried about the health and safety of those around us.
It’s understandable that business owners want to keep productivity levels up during this time, but the way to achieve this isn’t necessarily with strict regimes and micromanaging. It could be that the optimum way to keep employees engaged in your business is with compassion, understanding and empathy. But what’s the best way to let your employees know you care about them as people as well as staff?
Lead with compassion
The coronavirus crisis has flipped millions of lives upside down, including those of your employees. Communications during this time must first and foremost be empathetic, taking the unique circumstances and needs of your team members into account.
Everyone will be experiencing this crisis differently, depending on their circumstances. Some team members may live alone and be completely isolated, while others might be trying to juggle getting their work done with looking after children. Be sure to keep a compassionate tone in mind when talking to employees, putting clear structures in place for staff to request support or voice concerns.
Communicate early and communicate often
One of the main issues with a situation such as the coronavirus is that circumstances are constantly changing. What may have been manageable for someone last week may not be possible this week, whether that’s due to obligations, physical health or mental health.
For employers, it can feel like there’s no right time to communicate, and you might feel like you want to wait until you have more answers to offer. But keeping in touch early and frequently will show your team members that you care and give them the sense that you’re all in this boat together.
Change the narrative
Watch the news, and understandably it’s often filled with doom and gloom. Industries are struggling, businesses are shutting their doors and people are losing their jobs. This will no doubt act as a source of stress for your staff members, which means you need to be clear.
Workers are aware that the economy is being affected by current events, and that this increased uncertainty could impact your business too. Chances are you yourself are worried about this, and there’s nothing wrong with sharing those worries with your team. Instead of feeling like you need to protect your staff from the current situation, be honest and clear. Set up a regular cadence of communication in which you can share important information and allow concerns to be vocalised.
Consider your next steps
Starting to put a post-COVID-19 plan of action into place will help you feel more productive, and give your team members hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Think about employee benefit schemes, remote working procedures, business software that may have become vital in recent weeks and more. What lessons have you learnt from this experience and what can you take forward into the future?
Is your start-up struggling in these strange times? Let the team at TEDCO Business Support offer you a helping hand. Get in touch with one of our experts today by calling 0191 516 61 02, or by dropping us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.