Today’s workforce has stumbled upon unprecedented times. At a time when stability is replaced with chaos and predictability with volatility, having a stable work environment and having companies support employees is more important than ever.
In the past months, most of the enterprises around the Globe – both SME’s and large corporations – had to discover new ways for their business to operate effectively during the state of lockdown. Key players implemented innovative ways of recruiting, training and keeping productivity high, and new software was released to support their (now) remote functions. Businesses changed their strategies amid the global health emergency. However, many are failing to respond to the increased anxiety levels of their employees.
A well-known maxim is that employees are the most valuable asset of a company, and for the business to run undisrupted, the workforce should be taken care of. While the environment is abruptly changing, a healthy organizational culture ought to stay. For this to happen, businesses should implement the principle of C.A.T. – Community, Accessibility, and Transparency.
B EYE has always striven for a workplace that is a community. In the past few years, we have been conducting regular team and cross-department activities – from birthday celebrations to group sports training. Staying at home and keeping a social distance is no excuse to treat employees any differently than before, quite the opposite – now is the time to manifest the strength of the company culture. Thus, the place where these activities are being held might have changed, but nothing else should.
Keeping the spirit high and the stress levels low is a continuous process. Regular events with open participation should be held based on different interests’ groups, giving the employees a sense of belonging even from far away. Here are some suggestions:
- Morning online coffee or organized thematic lunches are a way for people to connect for a friendly talk and escape reality.
- After working hours and over the weekend is a good time to assemble virtual teams for board games, online painting, and other team-building activities.
- Short sports initiatives such as a plank or a squat challenge in the morning can keep the heartbeat fast and release endorphins, which are known as the chemicals that trigger a positive feeling and decrease stress levels.
- If a business is running as usual and success stories are still in full swing – organize meetings where different teams can pitch their achievements. Seeing the result of all the effort put is proven to improve the mood and overall work motivation.
Physical resources to support employees
Changing from an office environment to a home workplace can be a turbulent transition for many. Maybe an employee has a baby at home, their apartment is not properly set for working purposes, their neighbors are taking the spare time to reconstruct their whole place, or they simply lack the necessary furniture.
Most companies have provided necessary equipment such as laptops and headphones, but to do your best at work, a comfortable working space is much needed and goes beyond being supplied with a laptop. As an employer, it is essential to walk the extra mile to ensure a secure place for all. Not everyone is equipped with a proper desk, a comfortable chair, or additional monitors – granting access to those for employees in need will ease their adjustment.
Once the physical resources are provided, one must ask himself the question “Can all employees continue with their professional growth from afar?”. The answer most certainly should be yes, but only as long as they are provided with the needed resources to learn from. Having a well-established knowledge sharing system gives an immediate advantage over the companies that lack it. Establishing a culture of sharing no matter the costs will help businesses return to their normal activities stronger. A unified learning platform combining both soft and technical training can boost the competencies of employees and keep them up-to-date with immediate, relevant content for their growth. Moreover, it allows them to develop by using a free and easily accessible credible source of information, which in turn improves their devotion to the organization.
Last but not least – transparency. A transparent approach with the workforce from the CEO to decrease the anxiety surrounding the negative economic and health consequences of the lockdown.
Regular town hall meetings where different points of concern are discussed can give both management and entry-level employees the security and answers they might need to keep their productivity levels high. Having a clear vision of how the outbreak is being handled by the organization and what it means for the future of the workplace gives much-needed visibility. Discussing the updates from the government and the changing situation within the company will decrease “gossiping” and assure the staff that nothing is kept a secret and that there will be an immediate notification once the circumstances have changed.
Conducting a short survey regarding their concerns and directly discussing the results with them during a group meeting can outline common trends that might need further unraveling.
In brief, it is never easy to lead through a crisis, especially one on a global scale. While turbulent times can be stressful, they are also the time to adapt and overcome challenges. There is no doubt that the current situation presents a unique challenge for employers to tackle. While there are many opportunities to fail, there are even more opportunities to grow and improve. Having a well-thought crisis strategy and will to go above-and-beyond will ensure survival and even allow for some to come out stronger from the situation. This is what will differentiate us from the rest.
“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”Warren Buffett