COVID-19 has transformed life as we know it. To slow the spread of the virus, Canadians have been advised to stay home, work remotely and practice social distancing. And while it is too soon to say how this change will affect us longterm, many of our clients are concerned about feeling isolated, anxious and disconnected amid this rapidly evolving health crisis.
As we shift to new ways of working and being, we encourage you to reframe the term ‘social distancing.’ While it is essential that we physically disconnect during this time of uncertainty, we can’t ignore that it is human nature to be social.
In times of stress and illness, being denied social connections can create more stress and illness. We must find ways to seek out support and feel connected to one another, even if it means doing so from afar.
Here are some practical ways employers can keep their teams connected, supported and engaged while working remotely.
Check-In Face-To-Face (Virtually)
If working remotely is new for your team, now is not the time to put your head in the sand. The pandemic is disrupting the world of work. Staff are being asked to work from home, parents are scrambling following school closures, and anxieties are settling in. Your team needs to feel supported as they adjust to this new environment. Check-in with your staff more frequently to see how everyone is coping. Consider scheduling a team huddle each week or at the beginning of each day where employees can discuss challenges they may be facing and offer solutions. While nothing can replace meeting in-person, connecting over video chat can be an effective way to boost communication, eliminate feelings of isolation and build a sense of community.
Establish Communication Channels
For organizations that operate primarily face-to-face, the shift to virtual can be challenging and overwhelming. Is there anything more frustrating than trying to follow a long, drawn-out email chain? Or attempting to collaborate without access to the files you need? Work with your staff to establish new norms for communication, information sharing and approval processes.
- When is it appropriate to use chat? Email? Phone? Video conferencing?
- Do you need to invest in a cloud storage solution? A project management tool?
Make Time for Fun and Celebration
Just because you’re working virtually, doesn’t mean you have to abandon the things that make your organizational culture great. Share the wins and silver linings, make space to talk about your new co-workers’ (family members and pets) quirks, keep things light with appropriate jokes, continue to host your social meetings and events virtually. While business continuity is essential, many organizations are far from business as usual. Be flexible, empathetic and understanding with your team during this difficult time. Rather than focusing on time logged, consider whether your staff is being productive, given the current circumstances. Recognize and celebrate the efforts that your team is making to be fluid and adaptable. Now’s the time to stick together, to support one another, as we move forward in finding our new normal.
If your organizational leaders need additional support in navigating these complex times, lean on Cenera’s Leadership Coaches for guidance. Our coaches are accessible and available to provide exceptional service and support to teams that are making the shift to virtual and remote work.
Call now to book a consultation! P: (403) 290-0466
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