South Africa (and the rest of the world) has effectively been in lockdown for over a year and the state of disaster has recently been extended to the 15th of June. Newspaper headlines are a constant reminder of the coming third wave and the numbers of positive cases are once again climbing. As winter creeps closer so does that now too familiar feeling of uncertainty and fear in every individual – what will the third wave mean for my company, my family and my financial security. These fears have a way of keeping people up at night and seeps into everyday life in the form of compulsive thoughts. Every company has its own unique way of dealing with the pandemic but how do we create a sense of togetherness when working from home and dealing with our own fears? And how do we create opportunities for our employees to thrive when we cannot see them?
Here are 5 tips:
1. Keep everyone in the loop
One way of making everyone feel like they belong is to make sure everyone knows what is going on. It is important to know that they are not alone in their uncertainty and fears – let your team know that you also share some of these fears but make a point to reassure them that they are an important part of the company. Create opportunities for your team to ask questions that voice their concerns or to make suggestions on how the team can function more effectively while working remotely.
2. A shared purpose
It’s every CEO and manager’s dream that everyone in their company shares in the company’s vision and goals. However, working away from the office and colleagues makes it easy to forget what our shared purpose is, therefore it is important to make sure that employees are not only motivated to get the work done but that it is also for them to understand and share in the enthusiasm to fulfil the shared purpose. A possible way to do this during remote working is to have an online quiz hour with questions that cover company policy, culture, ideas and purpose – having a prize for the winner creates incentive for your team to up their game and reacquaint themselves with the core values of the company.
3. Mental health check
Cabin fever is a real thing and being cooped up in the same space day after day can have a huge impact on our mental health. Encourage your team to speak up if they need someone to talk to – we all need a sympathetic ear from time to time. Another great way of coping with the same space for work life and personal life is to make a fake commute part of your daily routine. The idea behind a fake commute is that the ritual of leaving the house and driving to the office mentally prepares us for the day, our “home brain” switches to our “work brain” during our commute even if it’s just a five minute drive, a walk around the block or even a short meditation in the garden before starting the day.
4. Every contribution counts
Everybody likes to feel needed and valued, the same goes for your employees. Create opportunities within the team for individuals to shine, this can be done by giving everyone a specific task that only they are responsible for. At the end of the day every individual piece forms part of the larger picture and makes an impact on company growth and success but also makes employees feel like they as individuals make a difference not just as part of a larger group.
5. Opportunities for growth
While everyone has a little more time on their hands it is a golden opportunity, for those who want to, to take up a short course or mentorship program to develop their skills and expand their knowledge. This adds value not only to the individual but to the company as a whole. Knowledge is power and in a time where nothing is an absolute constant except for change knowledge is a powerful thing that can never be taken away from someone.
The saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work but we have to give our team the tools they need so that they can thrive. Knowing your team’s strengths can help your company grow, contact us here for more information about StrengthsFinder and Strengths Coaching.