Maintaining the workplace
Although the majority that can work from home are doing so, there will be a requirement in some businesses for an on-site skeleton staff to remain in the office.
If this is a requirement in your business, you should consider implementing the following measures:
- Additional cleaning (including deep cleaning in communal spaces and high touch areas)
- Finding ways to get more people in their teams working from home
- Asking your IT workers to strive to source or enable the technology needed to do so
- Moving teams to an “every third desk” approach to seating arrangements
- Making car parking available at zero cost (either at your workplace or refunded via expenses nearby if no spaces available) to reduce staff reliance on public transport
Keep communication channels open
Uncertainty and anxiety can understandably drive businesses to become very self-focused. Some owners will prefer to keep a low profile and say as little as possible when things are up in the air. However, given that your team are having to process the same fears as you, now more than ever they need good leadership where they feel included and valued. Maintaining a wall of silence can create unnecessary negativity, which can further fuel uncertainty and make it difficult for employees to trust the workplace culture and its leadership.
With teams working from home, you should hold regular conference calls to maintain morale and focus so that key tasks are prioritised and completed. It also enables flexibility to plan and constantly review work schedules to take into consideration employees home life. Are they having to balance home working with childcare? Are they currently caring for vulnerable family members? Employees are entitled to take a reasonable amount of time off to care for someone else who depends on them and holiday, if their employer agrees.
Manage your own feelings
Let’s not forget that this is a time of uncertainty and anxiety for you, the business owner as well. The key is how to manage your feelings, to build up some kind of resilience in the face of the adversity. In order to do this, start with basic measures such as getting enough sleep and natural light, fresh air or exercise within the government’s guidelines on social distancing. Although the stresses arising from COVID-19 are viewed negatively, the enforced changes placed upon us offer the potential for transformational growth by developing different personal strengths, improving relationships and appreciating different aspects of our lives which perhaps we took for granted before. Maintaining positive thought awareness by not letting negative emotions derail your efforts, can help to refocus your outlook by adopting a more optimistic view. We are not in control of the COVID-19 pandemic and in reality, we will experience many testing days to come as the crisis evolves. However, we do have a choice about how we respond. Try and be a reassuring leader to your staff by being purposeful, not reactive.
Wesleyan Bank acts as a broker and a lender. For more information visit: wesleyan.co.uk/news-and-insight/guiding-your-business-through-unprecedented-times or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.