With the US becoming the epicenter of the pandemic, and the recent announcement that the quarantine and social distancing period will be extended at least until April 30th, the reality is that nobody actually knows for certain when this situation will be over.
Our team is used to working remotely, but these are not normal remote work conditions. This is emergency remote work and it requires a different mindset.
Even though we can’t control when everything will get back to normal, in emergency remote work there are actions that we can take to minimize some of the negative impacts that these trying events are having on us and our remote team’s mental health.
There is nothing more taxing than uncertainty. It is very important to be realistic and to keep everybody in the loop about what’s happening both with the pandemic and with the company as a result of the situation. Implement a biweekly company newsletter that touches on the following points:
- An update on COVID-19 in the US and government policy around it.
- An update on company measures to ensure everyone’s safety.
- An update on company measures to protect everyone’s job, if your company is in the position to do so.
- A section about tools and strategies that are being implemented in the company to manage the situation.
- A section about how employees can help out and feel that they’re part of the solution. Here is a list of service opportunities.
People need to know that you and their colleagues have their backs. The only thing worse than having to work under sudden extreme conditions is feeling that you’re having to go through it alone. We have some ideas on how you can help your team cope with their sudden WFH routine:
- Provide access to mental health support through online services such as Virusanxiety or Mentalhealthsf for your employees.
- Build a Slack channel for group support.
- Encourage and provide incentives to have a support buddy from within the company for when times are hard.
- Encourage your team leaders to give everyone on their team a call once a week to check in on how they’re doing physically and emotionally.
- Designate team “Health Owners”: someone that is in charge of implementing and supervising health strategies for each team.
People are having a hard time, don’t ignore it and don’t take it lightly. Don’t downplay what’s happening and don’t assume your team is coping well. This situation is difficult and people need to know you acknowledge that.
- Implement a family hour: an actual scheduled hour a day where employees are able to check in with their loved ones.
- Make sure your team has everything they need to work safely from home (computer, keyboard, mouse, ergonomic desk and chair, lighting, etc.).
- Remind them (and yourself) to make sure they are working in a way that is kind to their body - don’t spend all day hunched over a stool at the kitchen counter, take regular breaks and make sure to stretch.
- Make sure your team is getting time to exercise, relax and sleep. Here is a list our team compiled for home exercise and meditation resources.
- Get to know what people are going through and see if there is something you or someone in the company can do to help.
Be Kind ✌️
The way you communicate is key, the way you act is even more important. The decisions you and your leaders are making and the way you are communicating them say a lot about what you think and feel about your employees. It might help to take some of the following pointers into account to empathize with your employees:
- Show your team how to use any new tools you’re implementing with patience.
- Remember that not everybody responds or copes with adversity in the same way.
- People want to feel that they are being part of the solution and not just being told what to do.
- If you must reduce your team salaries, start with leadership.
- If you must implement hard decisions, ensure that you communicate them with respect to your team. Remember that this crisis is temporary but the impact of a poorly handled situation can have long-lasting effects.
During these difficult times, there are things that you can do to ensure that your team gets through it together and emerges stronger on the other side. Your company is your tribe, and your tribe will be grateful if you take care of their wellbeing -productivity and financial health will follow.
About GroWrk Remote
GroWrk Remote is building the infrastructure for the future of work. We help companies equip their remote employees and redistribute their office space into their remote worker’s homes, setting them up with premium ergonomic workspaces and services on a flexible and scalable low subscription. GroWrk Remote is the easy button for everything remote office-related.
With GroWrk Remote you will:
- Be significantly more cost-efficient, spreading the cost of premium ergonomic workstation equipment over 1 to 2 years, instead of upfront costs for you and your employees.
- Take care of your distributed team’s health and safety with dedicated one-on-one Certified Ergonomist care.
- Ensure that your remote team has the proper equipment to be effective at all times anywhere in the world with a dedicated Growrk Remote General Manager.
- Move fast -Set up takes just 1 week.
Schedule a call to sign up and get started with 1 month free for every remote employee here