In these unprecedented days, very few Leaders and Managers have experience of handling such a large crisis.. Not only is there day to day decisions having to be made, and fast, without much time for thinking or planning, there’s also other people to consider, staff, clients, suppliers and of course family.
Never before have today’s Leaders and Managers been put under such intense pressure to get it right. Whilst the day to day tasks of your Leaders, Managers and Teams might be essential to get the job done, it’s their Emotional and Mental Health Wellbeing, that can make a big difference on how the tasks get done, or even if they get done at all. Looking after your people’s Emotional and Mental Health Wellbeing has never been more important than it is now.
Everyone is an individual. They have their own fears, worries and concerns and each staff member might respond differently and without the structure of being in the office they will cope in different ways.
How are your people doing and how are you helping them to cope?
Here’s some of Inspire UK’s top 10 tips on how you can help your people working from home.
KEEP IN TOUCH REGULARLY, whether thats with phone calls, texts, emails, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom, Teams, FaceTime or any other method you are able to use and mix it up a bit. Hold team calls and individual 1:1’s. Where you’ve got large teams think about setting up a buddy scheme so
everyone has at least one person to speak to directly every day.
LISTEN Ask them how they’re handling things and what challenges they’re facing, and then listen. You don’t need to give advice and ideas constantly to give support, sometimes people just want to get things off their chest .
ASK QUESTIONS Instead of offering solutions or advice immediately. Ask questions around what they’re saying, to get them to open up more. Your instant response might not be the solution they need.
BE AWARE OF HOW YOU ARE COMMUNICATING Keep your people feeling connected but be aware of your wording in emails and voice tone in calls. People will be feeling extra vulnerable so your words may not land the way you intend. When you’re busy it’s very easy to send one liner
responses but, in difficult times, these can be construed as abrupt and curt. Take some time out to prepare before you email or call people. Make sure you know your intention, for the message you want to relay, and think about how you can get that across, in the most effective way.
SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS Tell your teams what you expect and what they can expect from you and make sure you deliver your side of the bargain. If you can’t commit to something – don’t, but tell them why. Make sure you’re not asking your staff for unrealistic outcomes. Clarify with them that they have the tools, the time and the skills /experience to achieve what you’re asking them to do.
ASK THEM WHAT THEY NEED FROM YOU. And be honest about whether you can give them what you need and when they might get it. So if it’s a piece of equipment they need, can you get it to them and when? If it’s more communication they need, can you arrange this, by who, when and how
BE FLEXIBLE & TRUST THEM Focus on outputs rather than how many hours, or when they’re working. From personal experience we know that working from home takes a lot of getting used to and you need to give your teams some leeway. If they find it easier to do their work when the kids
are in bed, and that’s feasible, then let them know that’s OK. Unless it’s vital, do they have to work 9-5. Trust your teams, in most cases you probably employed them or keep them so you must trust that they can do the job. The good news is they still can, they haven’t lost any ability, it’s just a bit different for them and you. Undoubtedly when they put the washing in, or stop for some lunch, or have five minutes with the kids, they’ll feel guilty in case someone thinks they’re not putting the hours in.
KEEP THEM MOTIVATED Make sure they know they’re valued – tell them and show them. Some ideas to try – Send them motivational gifs; quotes and inspirational blogs – post them a thank you card – arrange for them to be sent some fruit – introduce a weekly competition for the most innovative
daily exercise/ the best looking dinner / cake etc – it doesn’t all have to be work. Be wary though, not everyone might want to join in, and that’s ok, don’t force it. Involve them, ask them for ideas too!
ENCOURAGE & INFORM Help your people to stay safe, healthy and informed by passing on government information, about how to look after themselves and others during this crisis. Make sure they have contact details of organisations, that can help them should they have problems. Only send info from reliable sources and sense check to weed out fake news.
BE HONEST let them know how your company / organisation is coping and be open to answering questions about their job / work insecurities as honestly as you possibly can.
These tips are not exclusive, I’m sure you can all come up with a list of your own too and probably so can your teams.
We’re all finding that we’re having good days and bad days, just remember that we’re all in the same boat and that you team are doing the best they can in the worst circumstances – and so are you.
Finally, remember to look after yourselves too.
Be kind to yourself, stay at home, keep safe and stay healthy.