Employees have some new and different expectations of their employers in light of the pandemic. To help keep your workers engaged and productive, consider these ways you can support and empower them:
- Provide more work options. According to one survey, more than 80% employees don’t think they should have to work onsite if they can effectively do their jobs remotely. While they understand that they may not be able to work from home all the time, they want flexibility and schedules that enable them to balance work and family responsibilities. This may mean working 4 days on and 4 days off, job sharing, staggered shifts, or other innovations.
- Ensure adequate digital collaboration. Make sure remote workers have the tools and technology to do their jobs. At the same time, provide specific guidance on issues such as what should/can be done/communicated via email, requirements/expectations for participating in Zoom or other video meetings, what privacy and security measures are necessary, etc.
- Provide adequate support. This means efforts to address workers’ mental, physical, and financial wellbeing. Review your wellness offerings and make sure they hit all the bases.
- Be kind, be consideration. Let employees know that you appreciate their work and sacrifices during these challenging times. Communicate how you are protecting their health and safety and encourage them to share their questions and concerns. Model the behavior you expect from them – such as patience, respect, and listening.
- Be clear. Make sure all workers understand what is expected of them. Clearly communicate duties, roles/responsibilities, deadlines, etc. Have an avenue for regular check ins. If workers are expected to take on new roles or activities, make sure they have the skills and training necessary to succeed.
- Be transparent. Communicate how the pandemic is impacting the organization. Will there be layoffs or salary cuts? What PPE will and won’t be provided? Will benefits change? Will remote workers be expected to come back to the office? If so, when?
- Address safety concerns of onsite employees. The open office concept won’t work anymore (at least for the foreseeable future). Determine how to create closed spaces (with plexiglass barriers, temporary walls, etc.) while improving air filtration and cleanliness.