We are all in a bit of turmoil at the moment, aren’t we? Do we go back to the office? Work from home? How do you make sure your staff are okay? With a lot of uncertainty, it is hard for businesses to understand what to do and how to look after their staff. So, we wanted to discuss some things you can do to make sure your staff are happy and working to their full potential.
Talk to your employees. If it’s possible to speak to all your employees in a 1-2-1 setting where they can voice their concerns, whether that is not having the right equipment to work from home or that they struggle with feeling lonely when remote working. Being able to voice their concerns will instantly make them feel like they are being heard and appreciated, during what are difficult times for everyone. Being open and listening to your employees makes it more comfortable for them to talk about the mental health challenges of their own.
Key Tip: Ask questions such as “How are you honestly feeling about the situation? What can we do to help you? Is there anything you need whilst remote working? Do you have any concerns we can address?”
Show your employees that you care about how they are feeling and that you are being transparent. As a business, showing your employees that as a company you are trying to make remote working be a possibility for everyone, whilst also maintaining their wellbeing will make them have more trust and morale with their work. Let your team prioritise self-care and respect their boundaries – if their normal working hours are 9-5, just because they are closer to their laptops does not mean that they should be extending their hours past that unless they decide to work overtime.
Let them know that it is okay for them to take the dog out on their lunch or have a 5-minute tea break, or maybe they want to book some annual leave. It can already be hard to work from home, let alone if they feel as though they are not being seen as productive.
Key Tip: Ask your employees what their weekend plans are, ask about the family, show an interest in their life outside work.
Connect with your whole team. You can do this through company social events (virtual, currently). It is so important for them to feel like they are part of the team, especially if you have new employees and it is hard to do that if you haven’t had the opportunity to meet the rest of the team. Lots of businesses are doing online quizzes, virtual countdowns or even virtual darts!
Or another great way to encourage team interactions is by using software like Microsoft Teams or even have a company/department WhatsApp, where your team can easily communicate with each other, even if it isn’t necessarily work-related.
Key Tip: There are endless opportunities for virtual team activities and remember, a lot of people have gone from spending 8 hours a day with people to being, potentially, at home alone in front of a screen.
Offer flexibility to your whole team. Working from home can mean that a lot of people still have to take the children to school or the children may even be at home too (which can add extra stress!) or they could need to take care of someone vulnerable. So, whether that means your team needs to start earlier and finish earlier, start later and finish later or maybe they need to split their day up more, it should be an option they feel they can approach you with.
Key Tip: Open communication about this issue will create a trust factor, meaning your employees are more likely, to be honest about what they need and boost their morale.
A lot of new procedures, software and processes will have been introduced in businesses over the last 6 months. With the potential looming of another lockdown, make sure your team understands how to use all of the software and all of the process/procedures. This will make your employees feel more confident and comfortable in their role, meaning they are more likely to perform their job to a higher standard.
Whether this involves company training sessions or a dedicated expert on the software/process/procedure, it is so important that your team feel as though they have the option of support should they require it. If your team doesn’t understand the software they are expected to use, it will also affect your customer service and experience.
Key Tip: Why not ask your employees what they feel they need training on, then hold either mandatory or voluntary training sessions a couple of times a month.
The one major take away from all of this is communication, it is paramount for all businesses to have open lines of communication with staff, whether that is conversations about what is happening in the business, industry or the opportunity to voice concerns, communication will make everyone feel more motivated and heard.