Even the most resilient at some point require to be reenergized. The team has been in the bunker for a month and the news is that we should expect the same again.

Prepare for a dip in focus as personal concerns once again overcome all else. Those folks that rallied the group’s spirits and boosted new ideas and ways to do things – the adapters, may be overdue for some care and attention.

Surveys tell us that employers are a trusted source of information, an important responsibility when there is a preponderance of negativity some of it false, feeding people’s fears. Water cooler osmosis balanced opinion in the office and smoothed the extreme views and it will take work to reproduce that effect virtually.

End or start every on-line session by enquiring about people’s fears, challenges, positive experiences, and circumstances. What news has changed people’s perspectives? Don’t assume that Zoom will allow you to spot the facial tweaks that you intuitively reacted to when meeting F2F and don’t expect people to open up in a virtual group either. Their concerns will not be trivial but highly personal anxieties. The team has soldiered through as we do in the face of adversity, but self-isolation for the most part sucks.

A US employee survey found more than half those reporting were fearful, anxious and stressed. Maintaining morale is a top challenge. Don’t pretend this is “business as usual” employees need the certainty of their employer and the knowledge that they have a plan. Along with group and individual meetings consider daily pulse communications. Maintain all the regular things too; positive feedbacks, a celebration of even the smallest wins, encourage virtual drop-ins and continue games and digital beers.

Get in the habit during on-line meetings of having a hand-wash break – a habit we will want to be well ingrained when normal life resumes – try conducting a meeting in face marks. Celebrate others – we were great at building homes and running food drives for the less privileged now those front line health workers dealing with life-threatening stress really need and deserve our appreciation.

Get to know each other – video invites co-workers into each other’s homes – share pastimes and the things enjoyed outside work. You remember the show and tell. Enable people to work their schedules to suit their responsibilities at home, but recognize that this will be the new schedule after we have returned to more normal times.

Some employees will not want to share their emotional state, so along with regular one-on-ones sessions, use a survey so that employees can respond anonymously. Always be available, be communicative and above all, flexible and empathetic.

In the background take steps to improve functionality – we know more people will want to work from home even when we can return to the office – is your VPN or telephone conference line designed to permanently accommodate 100 people? Schedule meetings away from the top of the hour and avoid stressing the telephone system. Can bots be developed to streamline home-work? Reduce frustration and improve morale.

Solutions will be proffered by vendors on how to manage remotely – most based upon their utility before the current events – beware of the easy solution that proved attractive to others – your needs are unique.

Three Big Ideas – Fit First Technologies Video

Need a Yoda? We can help. We have seen a catastrophe or two and know a thing or two and prior solutions will continue to have a role. In the great recession, we worked without fees supporting clients through difficult times. We plan to do so again through telephone consultations, The Recovery blog, The Business Health Council and our Advisory Board on Demand; a service to CEOs facing challenges that don’t have an advisory board. 

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