The COVID-19 crisis continues to spread rapidly around the world and its implications have left businesses counting costs. Beyond the serious implications on the healthcare industry and the people’s health, it has significantly affected businesses and the economy. Businesses need planning for the coronavirus pandemic and its implications and while you’re dealing with it, your staff may feel anxious and fearful about contracting the virus, spreading it around, losing job or layoff and not being able to pay the bills.
Apart from the federal government grants and financial aid, many small business owners are likely offering allowances to help keep their workers safe and financially sound during the coronavirus outbreak. The ability of your business to get through the coronavirus lies in its compliancy, resilience and cooperative potential and you will need the same from our employees.
For your employee’s well-being, whether you have the means or not, here are a few things you can do to help support your employees during this COVID-19 crisis.
- Use Technology to Connect With Them
If your employees can work from home, make sure your business has the flexible remote work policies in place to help equip your employees with all the necessary tools and technology to make the remote work environment a breeze. There are various business software and apps you can use to make the communication and collaboration easier with employees such as Slack for instant messaging, Zoom for video conferencing, Aircall for sales and support teams, Zapier to automate workflows, Trello for tasks management, and Klaus quality assurance tools for employees performance and reporting. You can also use a secure sharing service, like LastPass, to provide employees easy access to different systems. Select the tools accordingly and ensure your team has easy access to these.
- Use Flextime and Creative Scheduling
Work management in current uncertain times is stressful. During the crisis, your employee stress levels and balancing work and personal priorities can be challenging to stay focused on the job. Use of flextime and creative scheduling can provide support to your employees, preserve self-esteem, and keep their performance high while working from home. With flextime, your employees can take care of their office tasks by scheduling time that is compatible with their personal duties. Providing flextime during such a crisis can help build strong relationships with your employees, retain the talent, and increase morale, which should be your acumen as a business owner as well.
- Set Reasonable Expectations
A crisis like this also affects employees’ productivity and work quality. Consider setting reasonable expectations of their time at home. Priorities your projects and assign work accordingly. Think of the big picture and let go of little mistakes or errors made by the employees. Make them feel control and trusted at the same time. Set reasonable KPIs and quantitative metrics that align with possible outcomes. Encourage them to perform their responsibilities in the best possible way and support them along the way.
- Stay Engaged and Crank up the Communication
The communication in close proximity like the office is easy and effortless. However, when the team is working remotely, engaging with employees with frequent communication can be a problem especially when they aren’t used to remote working. Even for those accustomed to it, it may feel unstructured and detached. When employees are working remotely, try to foster a culture of communication to encourage employees to have frequent conversations. Provide them with the tools they need to stay engaged and schedule virtual meetings to broadcast key information instead of emails. Be in contact with your employees regularly and always give a little nudge if they’ve gone silent. The use of video-chat functions and collaboration tools can help in keeping the employee engaged.
- Foster your Employee Well-being
Your employee well-being is essential for your business morale and productivity. Consider offering tutorials on mindfulness, stress-management workshops, and virtual social events for staff like a daily creative challenge or puzzle or simply suggesting them to go for a walk can help. Let them know that their well-being is your top priority and act in a way that protects their physical and mental health. Have a clear communication about their health risks, preemptive actions and available resources to keep your employees safe, and foster well-being during the coronavirus crisis.
The Bottom Line
While the Covid-19 crisis is ongoing, make sure to keep yourself and your employees safe and cared for. In these challenging times, support from your business can dramatically affect your employee’s livelihood. You can also explore the refundable tax credits for paid sick leave and FMLA by the federal government to provide additional benefits to your employees during the coronavirus outbreak. And if you need financial assistance to support your employees, consider applying for small business loans.
Remember your employees are the most valuable asset of your business and when business gets back to usual, this support will help your business to a smoother transition well through and to the end of the COVID-19 crisis.