Canadian employers are being forced to make hard decisions every day as they work to keep their teams’ health and their organizations’ bottom lines in balance. Flexibility, sensitivity and patience are three of the most important muscles an employer can flex right now, but if you’re leading a team, don’t forget to give yourself the same grace.
When you feel overwhelmed, remembering these four key ways to support your employees will go a long way.
1. Empower employees to work remotely
Public health experts, physicians and government officials agree that organizations should encourage and enable employees to work from home during this pandemic to promote physical distancing and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Help your employees transition to working from home by encouraging them to:
- set up a designated workspace
- establish a new routine that includes regular communication with their team members
- schedule breaks to reset and get outside
- create a distinct wind-down to the work day in order to protect mental health and prioritize self-care during this stressful time
Help your employees get the medical support they need, from the comfort and safety of their home.
2. Centralize information
Since changes are happening daily — sometimes hourly — set up a centralized place for employees to get company updates about COVID-19, including work from home guidelines, new or revised policies for absences and sick days, etc. This could be a hub on your company’s intranet, a gated landing page on your website, a phone number where updates can be broadcast, or even a closed Facebook group or WhatsApp thread, depending on the comfort levels of your team members.
When sharing updates about COVID-19 in general, remember to focus on facts published by reputable organizations as opposed to news websites that may editorialize information or make its own predictions.
Click here to access our free COVID-19 resources for yourself and for your team.
3. Establish strict health & safety measures
In addition to increasing sanitization of all commonly-used office areas including elevators, door handles, kitchens and washrooms, employers must implore any employees who must come into work to follow a new set of best practices. At minimum, all employees must be given the tools and information required to:
- practice physical distancing
- clean and disinfect their work areas regularly
- practice regular and effective hand washing
- practice effective coughing and sneezing etiquette (into the elbow)
- monitor their symptoms regularly
TELUS Health has developed a COVID-19 self-assessment tool to help you determine your risk factors and provide direction on how to keep yourself, your family, and your community healthy. Click here to access it.
4. Prioritize communication
If your organization was relatively siloed before the outbreak, now is the time to encourage and exemplify regular communication. A sense of community and a culture that promotes openness is vital to prevent loneliness and protect mental health during social distancing.
Schedule video meetings in lieu of relying solely on emails and calls, and work to cultivate your online community through group chats. If there was ever a time to allow memes and social sharing, this is it!
As a leader, another great practice to establish is “one minute of kindness” for each employee each day if possible, which means sending a note of thanks or taking a moment to ask each person about their families, etc.
Our free happiness challenge and mental health challenge are great ways to engage organizations and promote mental health awareness. The page to subscribe can be shared with employees so those who want to join can do so easily.