Everyone is going through pandemic stress. From bosses and managers to employees and entry-level workers, everyone goes through different levels of anxiety, stress, and even depression. From the COVID-19 crisis to the stress of the 2020 presidential elections, workers of all stripes feel less prepared and uninformed about their future.
Now more than ever, company leaders and managers need to re-direct their energies and efforts into their employees’ mental health. Bosses need to express sincere concern for the well-being of their staff, especially if they want their businesses to survive. One way to do that is by fostering genuine connections with them. This is not always easy, especially in the age of remote work and stay-at-home orders. But with genuine concern and intentional engagement, bosses and business owners can help their employees find strength and resilience in these hard times. Here are some tips for fostering healthy connections with your employees.
One of the marks of a good leader is the ability to communicate well. Especially in the age of misinformation, confusion, and uncertainty, bosses and managers need to be visionaries who can see problems before they even arise and steer the direction of the organization to mitigate losses. No matter how big your business is, it will benefit you to communicate regularly with your employees. Here are some ways you can communicate effectively with your team:
- Ask them how they’re doing. Even the simple act of asking how they’re coping during the pandemic and how you can help can boost their morale and remind them that you care about their well-being more than the works of their hands.
- Be honest about the reality of the situation. If your business is in trouble, be truthful about how this can affect them to give them time to sort out their options.
- Remind them that your lines are open and that you are willing to listen to their concerns as well. Remind them that they have a voice in the company and that you are available to hear them out.
- Don’t be afraid to address the hardships of the past year. Research into post-traumatic recovery suggests that to heal, one must acknowledge the trauma, loss, grief, anxiety, and uncertainty that they recently went through.
Give them work that they can handle.
Studies show that switching to remote work does not necessarily reduce stress for workers. In fact, working-from-home can cause even more stress because it often blurs the lines between one’s professional life and personal life. Always being “on” or accessible can lead employees to feel like they will never be able to escape from work, even during times when they’re supposed to be resting or having fun.
Respect their job descriptions and don’t ask them to take in more than they signed up for. If your company has already recovered from the lockdown, consider outsourcing what you can. Hire a digital marketing team or SEO service provider company instead of requiring your team to come up with content, especially if it’s not their forte. If none of your employees are financial experts or trained at bookkeeping, hire a skilled accountant who can manage this area of your company. Outsourcing not only keeps things efficient and cost-effective; it can also save your in-house employees a world of stress.
Maintain and respect their boundaries.
A work-from-home setup does not mean that your employees are available to you 24/7. Managers and bosses still need to respect their shifts and office hours. At the same time, building genuine connections with them does not entail overstepping your bounds.
Build trust in HR.
A crucial part of maintaining healthy boundaries is giving your employees the proper channels to express their concerns. The way to do that is by encouraging them towards trusting your company’s HR. Just because the economy is opening up again and more companies are returning to their workspaces, it doesn’t mean that the virus’s threat is gone. If your employees are still going through anxiety and fear over contracting COVID-19, or if their mental health is still taking a dip, they need to communicate with your HR, and your HR department must be ready to be sensitive to their needs. Nothing short of empathy will be able to help develop trust across all departments. Talk to your HR team and help them find resources that can help your workforce.
People, Not Machines
As they say, these are unprecedented times, and humanity needs to come together if we are to survive this pandemic. Put people first and watch your business survive, and the productivity in your workplace skyrocket.