COVID-19 is a global pandemic that is impacting almost the entire world currently. The coronavirus has created unprecedented societal and business upheaval and causes unforetold turmoil across the entire world. It has impacted the health and wellbeing of people along with their workplace and livelihoods.
A large part of the world’s current population is currently practicing ‘social distancing’ and thereby working from home if possible. Motivation among employees all around the world is naturally dipping in such stressful times. Employees are having to juggle work along with childcare since schools are closed along with the fear of their health and wellbeing and the stress of the unknown.
However, as a reality, business and the world economy still do need to run and cannot come to a complete halt due to coronavirus. Here are a few ways employers and managers can reduce panic and support and motivate employees during this trying time.
- Calm and Consistent Communication From Leadership
Even during stressful times, leaders need to project a calm demeanor and be consistent in their messaging. This helps allay your employees’ fears and reduce panic and confusion in the organization.
It is also important for companies to keep their employees and contractors updated. Provide your employees with information regarding prevention and risk mitigation. Companies should only depend upon credible sources of information such as the CDC or WHO. If your company is not typically used to working remotely, schedule face to face meetings once a week to stay connected.
- Readjust Objectives and Key Results
This is an entirely new and rapidly changing situation that everyone is dealing with. With daycares and schools closing, people have no options for childcare. Employers need to be understanding and have empathy for their employees.
This might also be an apt time to reevaluate your objectives and key results. Due to external as well as personal stressors your employee productivity is bound to take a hit. Employees will feel more motivated if they are supported by their organization in their time of need.
- Flexible policies and paid leave
While all small and medium businesses might not be able to guarantee paid leave during this economic downturn, if your organization can afford it, your employees will be grateful for your gesture.
Companies need to loosen restrictions around certain policies such as insisting on doctor’s notes for sick leave. With the entire hospital system overburdened, appointments few and far in between. Managers need to place faith in their employees and believe that they would do the right thing.
Your employee morale and engagement are bound to suffer if your employees are resentful of the leadership not caring enough.
- Mitigate Risk
There might be a few sectors where ‘work from home’ might not be feasible. In that case, employers should work to mitigate risk as far as possible. Add more hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes, more detailed cleaning of the work premises, providing more face masks as well as reducing penalties for sick leaves or time offs. Additionally, it would good to host information sessions to educate and reduce anxiety and panic.
These are unprecedented times and managers aren’t typically trained in ‘What to do in a pandemic’. What companies and managers can do is to make sure that their employees are supported, taken care of in the best possible way. In return when employees feel safe and thankful to be part of your organization during these difficult times, they are sure to feel more engaged and motivated to put in the work.