As the world responds to the many challenges posed by COVID 19, our lives have changed significantly.
Bringing unprecedented amounts of disruption to both our personal and professional lives, the vast majority of Britain’s resilient workforce has either been asked to work from home or furloughed.
This has left many employees feeling isolated and is already having a huge impact on the mental health of individuals, up and down the UK.
Cut off from friends, colleagues, and the support of management, the abrupt changes to the way we carry out our day-to-day jobs has, unsurprisingly, had a significant impact on productivity and morale across a diverse range of sectors.
With this in mind, it’s more important than ever before that businesses connect and engage with their employees during these difficult times. Sales force research states “Businesses who communicate effectively are 50% more likely to have low employee turnover”. We think this is more applicable now than ever. Communication is the key to maintain good relationships with employees.
Thankfully, there are lots of ways to ensure you communicate frequently with your workforce as we all continue to navigate the effects of COVID-19.
As we have spoken to our clients, it has been great to hear of how the business owners or managers are staying in touch with their teams, whether they are at work or not.
Keep everyone updated frequently via email
Whether your workforce has been furloughed or your employees are now working from home, it’s important that you send frequent emails, even if you don’t have any big news to share.
This sense of contact will help to put your employees’ minds at ease, while reinforcing the fact that we’re all in this together and we will get through it together.
A recent Gallup survey shows, 74% of employees have the feeling that they are missing out on important information at work.
Use the correct tone
Remember, everyone is dealing with the effects of COVID-19 differently. With this in mind, when communicating with your employees make sure you show as much empathy as possible.
After all, on top of holding down their job and working from home, many people are also having to juggle home schooling, a busy family life, and many other responsibilities, which can feel extremely overwhelming.
Schedule time for 1-to-1s
If your staff are still working, make sure you schedule frequent 1-to-1s so your employees not only have some normality to the structure of their working week, but also have the opportunity to discuss any concerns they might have.
As well as regular meetings, you should also make a conscious effort to check in with your workforce as often as possible. If your employee is living alone, one simple phone call could go a long way to lift their spirits and help them stay connected.
Video time – Zoom calls
Two months ago, we had not heard of Zoom, now it is an everyday activity for many people, whether that is to stay connected with work, clients, colleagues or friends. We have seen great social interaction with quiz time, or virtual drinks at the end of the working week. This has been a great way to keep people connected, whether people are at work or not.
Employee Assistance Programs
If you discover that your employees are feeling anxious or out of sorts, there are a number of anonymous, third-party helplines offering support for both employees and managers who may be feeling isolated, stressed, and worried.
There are many people that suffer with many forms of mental health, some people like to be isolated and not need to deal with the outside social world, others however are experiencing their mental health intensified. These people need support from their normal channels that they use but may need additional support. If as a manager you can encourage your employees or team to come to you, to discuss concerns and offer support, you might be able to help. Being aware and staying close could make difference that someone needs.
Finally, it’s worthwhile remembering that this global pandemic is complicated and constantly evolving, meaning it’s imperative that you remain in tune with the ever-changing situation. At the same time, you should maintain clear communications and always adopt a transparent and flexible approach to the way you support your work workforce.
Our HR Team are on hand to assist you, contact us today.