COVID-19 is in every headline it seems and for good reason, this virus is impacting everyone worldwide at this point. With this in mind, it is not a surprise that the world of business and overall operations is shifting as many are impacted by the need to close doors and offer services only remotely or web based. So for employers what does this look like? How should we support our employees especially those with caregiver or parental responsibilities?
From the top:
1) Acknowledge the situation
Understand and acknowledge that the members of your staff and team have care-giving responsibilities. Normal days will shift in how they look BUT don't underestimate. Care-giving responsibilities often make people better time managers, more resilient, and hard workers. Caring for family and children doesn't equate to a weakness at work.
2) Clear communication
Ensure all members of the staff are aware of policies, procedures, and any discussions of any company changes. This is the best way to prevent miscommunication.
3) Explain to managers the situation
Many do not have access to help at home or childcare during this time. Those without these responsibilities may not realize the demands and how this impacts the staff. Ensuring everyone is involved, aware, and empathetic during this public health crisis will go a very long way! The average person is now doing the job of many and still trying to work and be productive!
4) Create an action plan to help employers
This action plan allows managers and employees to be fully engaged and aware of the week. This can help map out the week, the tasks, the deadlines and be a living document to help keep everyone on track and accountable.
5) Host support group zoom or open a slack channel for working parents
Lets face it this crisis can be particularly isolating at times and can make employees feel they are in a silo. These connection tools allow for others to stay connected and find a sense of community while practicing social distancing.
6) Flexibility and understanding
I think this one speaks for itself but understanding that work times may change when employees are juggling multiple workloads at home.
7) Assume positive intent
Always maintain the mindset that everyone is working as hard as they can and doing their best to complete tasks as need be. This assures that management is not micromanaging but also decreases stress!
8) Be honest about deadlines
Deadlines are inevitable, in using tracking documents and communicating this allows everyone to understand when they are and how to best allocate time to complete tasks. Don't assume an employee cannot complete without hearing it from them.
9) Still offer wellness solutions
Workplace wellness does NOT have to go by the wayside just because employees are sheltering in place. In many cases the break and prioritization of their wellness helps now more than ever. Find and offer applicable webinars, host a group yoga or meditation session, host a group workout on zoom etc etc! Get creative to continue wellness initiatives.
10) Offer time to connect one on one
And lastly still connect one on one with employees. Ensure that staff knows you still care and they can come to you for a resource even at a distance.