As regions of the country begin to see a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, there is more uncertainty now than there was in the first days of the pandemic. According to public health officials, it’s likely that uncertainty will stick around for quite a while. As a leader, it is important to keep your team positive as they work remotely and help to diminish their anxieties about what the future holds.
Keep reading to learn how being a supportive leader can help alleviate remote employees’ uncertainty during COVID-19.
Talk with employees often
We all have busy schedules, and at times, things can feel even busier during remote working. However, taking the time to meet individually with employees just to see how they are doing and listen to them is time well spent. A big part of why remote employees feel uncertain is because they are alone, and the only time they interact with supervisors or coworkers is for scheduled video conferences. There is no water cooler to gather around and no one to high five. They are essentially alone, and that weighs on an individual. People need to feel like they are supported. Also, when they don’t hear from their boss for a while they often begin to think something is wrong with their performance. This leads to all sorts of problems with effectiveness and productivity. So don’t leave your team members in the lurch, stay in touch. Even just a quick, five-minute video call to say “Hey, how are you?” can work wonders.
Have virtual office gatherings
Host a virtual happy hour or coffee chat. Getting the team together without any agenda builds camaraderie and helps people take their focus off of all of the craziness happening in the world right now. You could even host a trivia game and give out prizes for the winners. People need a minute to be unproductive which straight remote work doesn’t lend itself to unless you put a little effort into it. It may sound counterintuitive, but everyone has to relax a little to be productive when it counts.
Pay attention to your people
Make sure you know how everyone on your team is doing, especially if remote work isn’t the norm in your company. Mental breakdowns due to feelings of isolation and stress during COVID-19 are a real thing. When you see someone slipping, encourage them to seek professional help. Many companies have EAPs that they can utilize to get some counseling or mental health attention. Don’t let people fall through the cracks during this time. Be the person who cares enough about their employees to do something to help.
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