We’re still in the COVID pandemic, but like on Broadway, the show must go on, which means the work doesn’t stop.
With more information available than at the start of the pandemic, we are starting to see some positive COVID-19 results well, but the need to always practice social distancing stifles office morale.
Vaccines bring promise and light to what has been a dark time overall. However, for employees, entrepreneurs and large companies, this unique period has brought unique opportunities.
Recommendations for employers during the COVID-19 pandemic
Defining, discussing and enforcing security precautions related to COVID-19 is essential to keep your employees safe. With this understanding, it is just as important not to let security measures weigh on the energy in an office.
Whether you and your employees are in the office or continue to work virtually, not checking in with your team can cultivate a dreadful and unproductive atmosphere.
So how do you keep up the energy when everyone’s anxiety is affecting work life and no one is physically present?
Well, the fact that you are asking the question means that you have already taken a step in the right direction.
Give your team security and insurance benefits
The last thing employees want is the virtual version of a pizza party at work. People worry about the tangibility of providing for themselves and their families, so instead of offering small incentives, give them security.
Security can be a variety of things, from job security to benefits such as workers compensation. Make sure you find what would give your team the most peace of mind.
Update your technology
In the aftermath of the pandemic, the most successful companies weren’t afraid of a little innovation and good marketing. Staying connected while working virtually won’t work with traditional emailing.
Video conferencing and tools like Slack, Asana, and even social media let you communicate in real time on specific topics.
Use available technology to improve the systems you had in place before the pandemic. If you try to adapt your old structure to unforeseen circumstances, you risk leaving your team frustrated and confused.
Show your employees that you care
Remember, these unprecedented times can present personal obstacles that you may not be familiar with. Show employees that you care by being understanding. Give more time off, bonuses, or any other form of compensation than you can afford as an employer.
Set up programs to help improve their lives or even change policies that might cause unnecessary strain. The more loyal you are to improve the quality of life of your employees, the more loyalty and dedication you will get in return.
A list of areas to consider that help improve the quality of life for employees may include:
- Better health coverage
- Free food (could be done through food delivery apps)
- Discounts and benefits for the gym, spa or health
- Paid leave for vaccinations
Give your team what they want
You shouldn’t shoot in the dark or cling to ideas to keep your spirits up. Whether you can still work in person or remotely, your employees have likely already expressed their wants or even dislikes.
The last thing you want is the office discontent to follow your home team with them. If there are any suggestions or grievances your employees have voiced in the past, take the initiative to change them.
If you are unsure of what could make your employees happy, ask them. Create anonymous surveys by asking simple questions and giving them a safe space to honestly express their opinions.
Stay open to criticism from your employees and know that they are voicing concerns because they want to be with your business. When employees no longer want to express themselves or strive to improve their workplace, the easier it is for them to leave.
Become more charitable
Giving back is rewarding and reminds us of what we are lucky to have. Charitable goals can bring a team together while providing options for participation to suit individual comfort levels and abilities.
You can even give your team a voice by having them vote on the types of charities they want to help or donate to. By giving back, you instill in your team a sense of purpose and pride in where they work. On top of that, you connect your team and brand to your local community, which is more effective than any paid advertising.
Find ways to have fun
Virtual offices are likely to remain after COVID-19, so find ways to stay connected both physically and virtually. Employees who may lack socializing in the office are finding time in their busy work schedules for something decompressing.
Create a friendly game, theme, or competition to maintain team morale and goals. It may give you and your team flashbacks to teen summer camps, but the emotional impact will outweigh any shy hesitation.
In difficult times, finding a reason to celebrate can seem like a much needed breath of fresh air.
Take COVID-19 Precautions Seriously
One reason enough that causes discontent in the workplace is that employees feel their employers are not taking enough COVID-19 precautions to keep them safe. Whatever your opinion on regulations set by your state, the World Health Organization (WHO), or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), listen to your team’s concerns.
Your team will not perform well if they are concerned about their safety or if they are potentially transmitting COVID-19 to potentially vulnerable loved ones.
How to protect employees from COVID-19
In many ways, protection from COVID-19 comes from communication and enforcement.
When working virtually, supporting your team by giving them time to make their own choices is all the protection they need. If you are bringing your team back to work in person, be sure to provide all necessary supplies and publicize all workplace standards.
The foundation of the American dream is creativity, and the obstacles COVID-19 has created provide us all with the opportunity to be the most creative we have ever been. The test of true entrepreneurs and innovators is adaptability, and although we as a nation have been on the back burner, we have not been stopped.
Take advantage of this special time to bond with your team. Be there to support them and trust that they will support you when you need them.
Danielle Beck-Hunter writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, CarInsuranceComparison.com. Danielle is part of management teams and studies from a young age and has held leadership positions in several areas of work.