The world is different today than it was a few weeks ago. COVID-19 is sweeping across the world. Uncertainty, without question, is at an all-time high, as we experience an utter disruption in our workplaces and homes. And, above all, there’s no quick fix. The best thing employers can do is take time to listen to their employees. This means, being proactive with your employees by way of showing empathy towards their concerns, communicating frequently, while also being flexible and supportive of their needs.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the outbreak of COVID-19 may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children.
Stress during outbreak can include:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
This current pandemic has many employees working remotely, and as a result, it has made it next to impossible, for companies to maintain an engaged workforce. However, it does not have to be that way.
Here are three ways, companies can maintain employee engagement during this COVID-19 pandemic:
- We are social creatures, and whether it’s talking about our favourite hockey team, the latest movie with a work colleague, getting together for birthday celebrations or just casual conversations around the office-these activities include some of the reasons why we enjoy our jobs. All of a sudden, covid-19 has put a stop to all of this. So, as an employer, when checking in with your staff, something as simple as; how was your weekend? can make all the difference to them.
- Several provinces and states across Canada and the US are slowly opening up parts of the economy. But does this mean all employees should be asked to start driving to the office? A better approach might be to extend flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting, and staggered schedules that can help prevent the spread of the illness by allowing employees to work without exposing themselves or others to the virus. Greater use of teleconferences and e-mail versus face-to-face meetings are additional social distancing strategies that can help prevent the spread of illness.
- When checking in with their employees, managers should remind them how important their work is. Whether your industry is in telecommunications, manufacturing, insurance, or the front-lines providing healthcare or in the supply chain keeping the economy going, every company’s work is important. Your employee should be told that the work they perform is important and they should be made to feel that way not only now, but beyond COVID-19.
Bottomline: Your employees are anxious. Not only are they worried about getting sick and having enough food and supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are also weathering financial uncertainty, canceled social plans, and a completely new way of working.