20 Apr Empowering Your People in the COVID-19 Pandemic
Given the shock of what’s happened to the world with the COVID-19 pandemic, one might see a slump in productivity among your people when all that is familiar has been disrupted. Employees should personally make efforts to combat their disorientation, but employers must also play an important role in supporting employees who have made the move from a regular work day to an increasingly sustained period of working from home. Creating a culture of empowerment will quickly help your employees bounce back, and return to the level of productivity that they were at previously. However, policies on empowerment need to be adjusted for this work-from-home COVID-19 era. While micromanaging should be discouraged, you should set regular check-ins with your employees through a video call to ease communication, set clear expectations, and to combat disengagement and boost morale.
Additionally, leaders can lead their people to improve their physical health by creating special policies during this work-from-home period. An Indonesian e-commerce platform’s playbook has been circulated in many companies as an example to follow regarding work-from-home policies. However, you can (and should) create your own as well, to have a written, centralized statement as a symbol for the behaviors and systems to follow during this crisis, while serving as a guidebook to help your people keep their productivity and wellbeing high.
For example, have guidelines on your regular check-ins! Videoconferencing tools will be your new best friend, so create a company account for the various videoconferencing tools so your employees can stay connected and collaborative. As a leader, encourage your people to recreate watercooler talks and lunch breaks virtually and create fun events, i.e. virtual yoga sessions like we do every Monday! Your mental wellbeing is also intimately linked to your physical health. Similar to how videoconferencing and other such tools can facilitate fun employee ‘gatherings’ they can also be done to enforce physical health.
A study by Twente University, VU Amsterdam, and CBRE showed that productivity increases by 12% when workplace lighting follows our circadian rhythm, that is bright natural lighting in the mornings and noon, and dimmer lighting in the afternoon. Take advantage of the spaces in your home that have natural lighting, to boost productivity.
Productivity is important, but what about creativity and innovation? As one of the most important soft skills needed at work, creativity can be stifled if your environment doesn’t support it, for example, if you’re staying in one workspace all the time, so make sure to model good work from home practices as a leader, to encourage your people to do the same.
During this time, your focus must be your People! Keep in mind that without people there is no business continuity. Keep your employees productive and happy, by checking in on them to keep them engaged and on task, showing that you care, and setting guidelines so they can build a mental and physical environment conducive to high productivity.
Don’t forget to head to our short checklist on Instagram to see if you’ve been doing your part in empowering your employees: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-tEHeHFDch/