While many employers find themselves facing the physical implications of COVID-19, they are also dealing with the emotional repercussions of employees dealing with stress caused by the pandemic, while simultaneously trying to manage staff working from home. For a business to succeed, it is more important than ever to keep your team motivated, to focus on their well-being and to increase productivity. Here are five ways to help motivate your team during the coronavirus outbreak.
1. Create calm and good communication
Pressures are soaring as individuals worry about losing jobs, paying rent and protecting their health so it is crucial that employers provide a sense of calm. Employees are hungry for reassurance – for a psychological safety net – to help keep their fears in check. Employers should slow down and take breaks to reset instead of reacting in emotional ways that could add to staff stress. When communicating, employers should show they understand the risks of the situation, admit when they don’t know the answer to a question, defer to experts and calmly communicate a clear plan forward.
2. Put safe working conditions in place
It is difficult for people to feel confident when they don’t feel safe so it is crucial that employers provide safe working conditions. Employers must communicate that they value their employees’ health and ensure workplaces comply with government guidelines. If a business is allowed to operate on-site, hand sanitisers, soap, gloves and masks must be available. Reduce on-site teams to minimal employees, provide more private spaces and enforce hygiene rules to prevent the virus spreading. Discuss company health policies and encourage sick employees to stay home, while ensuring they don’t lose pay.
3. Replace strict rules with flexibility
Too many boundaries create demotivation so it is important to adopt flexible working practices to protect your team and create business continuity. Allowing flexible work hours and temporary task sharing enables staff to keep working while balancing emergencies, care-giving, schooling and illness responsibilities. Employees who work flexibly often give back more to the business. Recognise that staff may be more distracted so allow the temporary reorganisation of tasks that can be done out of order or in a more relaxed timeframe, so employees don’t feel constantly under pressure.
4. Give employees a challenge
If you want your teams to be engaged in their work, give them opportunities to experiment and solve business problems. Ask employees how they can deliver better service to clients, to give suggestions on how to improve the team and what will drive growth. You don’t need to think about large new approaches only, simply find ways to make every person on your team feel they have a positive role to play finding innovative ways to greet customers or to move previously in-person business tasks online.
5. Develop your team with learning
Now is the time to invest in the professional development of workers. Think about your employees’ developmental goals and create a portfolio that includes experiential learning, learning from others and coursework. This could be through coaching, career counselling, virtual learning or peer-to-peer learning. It builds loyalty, improves your reputation, creates capable workers ready for promotion and keeps employees engaged. Professional development helps the business save and earn money as employees become more efficient, produce higher quality products, provide better service and more helpful customer support.