As Covid-19 continues to disrupt our daily lives and our businesses, you need to ensure you are communicating effectively with employees during times of turbulence and change. Unless you act quickly, there is a risk that team members can quickly feel isolated in projects, lose sight of the vision you’ve built in your organisation, feel anxious and uncertain and, ultimately, become less productive to your business.
Fear of redundancies, downsizing and rationalisation will undoubtedly cause stress and uncertainty amongst your workforce. It’s natural for your people to feel a heightened sense of anxiety and loss of control during these turbulent times which cannot be underestimated. This is likely to be played out in how your staff perform and the general vibe in the office.
Regular communication with staff is crucial; giving them a chance to voice their concerns and help your people to stay resilient and productive.
These conversations not only help to build trust and foster open communication, they can also uncover roadblocks (before they become an issue) so that managers can support and prioritise projects and meet deadlines.
Ramp up engagement
The Coronavirus crisis and having a remote workforce has forced organisations to rethink how they communicate (albeit virtually) and engage with their employees. Remote workers require deeper levels of engagement so they don’t feel isolated and so they continue to deliver the same output and performance even if they are working remotely.
With little distinction between home and work life at the moment, managers and business owners are understanding more about their employees’ life (children, home circumstances etc) than ever before. This is a real positive outcome and can help to build trust and empathy.
Managers should ramp up engagement so that it is clear:
- What is expected of your people in terms of KPIs, output and project deadlines
- Understand how the latest government guidelines effect how you intend to continue operations, and under what measures
- Who they are reporting to and how often catch ups are taking place (albeit virtually)
- How you are supporting your staff to maintain their health and wellbeing during these stressful times
Monitoring employee performance
Working from home, or partly remotely, brings about a myriad of challenges, including how you are going to monitor performance. Employers need to rethink their approach to how work is done remotely, how work has changed and what new skills are needed to cope with these changing demands.
A lot of knowledge sharing comes from daily interaction and being in the physical workplace, so in its absence, employers need to look at creating online forums or zoom knowledge sharing sessions that maintain that same level of interaction.
During this prolonged time working from home, isolation can cause employees to feel less connection to the company, so it is important to introduce regular team and one-to-one catch ups where employees can report on what they’re working on and share challenges. Look out for employees who you haven’t heard from recently. The absence of communication can often be a sign they’re struggling and may need additional support.
Decide how you are going to measure performance and productivity remotely, which may be different from the norm. The best remote teams have a clear monitoring process and the right tools (i.e. time tracking) to enable managers to monitor output and recognise good work.
It’s vital for your employees to stay connected during this second lockdown (and beyond). The challenges for employers are vast and will change the way we all operate in the future. To help you navigate successfully and ensure you keep a clear focus on your people, download our HR guidance documents. We’ve got everything covered from flexible working, contingency planning and how to communicate effectively with employees amid these turbulent times.