How to Support Your Team as We Come Out of CoVid - ybkbs small business news platform for the smart business owner
How to Support Your Team as We Come Out of CoVid

How to Support Your Team as We Emerge from the Pandemic

Much as we’d all like to be done with Covid-19 forever, the reality is that the journey out of the pandemic is much slower and more gradual. As restrictions ease and more and more people are vaccinated, you might be thinking about how to transition your business from a remote setup back to a completely or partially face-to-face model. Perhaps you’ve even already done so, depending on the industry you’re in.

An uncomfortable fact that we must acknowledge is that the pandemic has created trauma and grief on a massive scale. None of us have lived through anything like this before (and hopefully we never will again!) 

What does this mean for your business? It means that you need to make a conscious effort to support your staff as the pandemic ends and beyond. Many of them will have struggled over the last year, including in ways that you can’t see and won’t necessarily know about. 

Here are a few of our top tips to help you do right by your people. 

Make Space for Complicated Feelings 

Yes, many of us are overjoyed at starting to get “back to normal.” But many people also have conflicting and complex feelings about it. It’s best to avoid making assumptions and to make it clear that it’s okay for your team members to feel a multitude of emotions about what’s happening. Expecting unbridled positivity (even tacitly) can be really damaging to people who don’t feel completely positive about the changes. 

Be Flexible 

Flexibility has been the name of the game for smart employers over the last year, and that flexibility must continue as we come out of the pandemic. 

Do all roles really need to be based in the office? If someone greatly prefers working from home and is productive that way, why not allow them to continue being partially or fully remote? You might offer flexible working hours for people with children or other dependents, or be more generous in allowing time off for medical or family purposes. 

Even small changes can make a big difference. One employee who is still nervous about using public transport told me that their employer is allowing them to flex their hours so they can travel at quieter, less crowded times. 

Make Your Safety Protocols Clear

Will you ask staff to take a Lateral Flow Test twice per week, require mask-wearing in the office, put up screens between workstations, or only ask fully vaccinated staff members to return to the physical workplace? There are no easy answers and the specifics (beyond what is required by law) will be up to each business to navigate. 

Whatever you decide, communicate it clearly to your team, customers, and any relevant third parties in plenty of time. If everyone is clear what you’re doing to keep them safe, they’ll feel much more secure about coming back to the physical office. 

Ask Your Team for Their Input

We all have different levels of risk tolerance and different things that make us feel safe. You cannot know what helps your staff to feel safe unless you ask them. So allow everyone to have input on what precautions and protocols they would like as they start coming back to the office. 

You’re not obligated to implement everything they ask for, but the more accommodating you can be, the more appreciated and looked after your staff members will feel. 

Woman working from home in a mask during the Covid pandemic
Provide Benefits That People Actually Want

As with so many things, this will differ between workplaces. What sort of employee perks and benefits would your team enjoy and get the most out of? 

Many people have become much more conscious about their physical health over the last year. Would healthy snacks in the office or employer-sponsored gym memberships be welcome? Mental health has also taken a hit, so what about offering access to therapy, meditation or mindfulness sessions, or an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)? If health is important to your employees, employer-sponsored health insurance is always likely to be a winner. 

A sociable workplace might enjoy company-sponsored social events or meals out. People with young children may appreciate help with childcare costs. And so on. Get creative with it and don’t be afraid to ask your people what they would like. 

Say Thank You

This is such a small thing but it’s amazing how many employers forget it. Your team members have served you and your business loyally over the last year in incredibly trying circumstances. They are likely putting themselves in the way of at least some risk if they’re coming back to the physical office. 

So say thank you! Say it clearly, specifically, and meaningfully. And as they continue to work hard for you, say it often. No-one ever gets tired of hearing that they are appreciated. 

Allow for a Period of Adjustment

When people started working from home a year or so ago, sensible employers understood that it would take some getting used to and did not expect full productivity instantly. The same is true in reverse. 

Going back to a physical working environment after being remote for 12 months or more is a big adjustment. Give your staff time and allow a grace period. In other words, do not expect them to be operating at 100% the first day you all meet in person again. 

How Are You Supporting Your Employees…

…or, if you’re an employee, how is your company supporting you?

We all need to pull together and take care of each other to get through the next few months and readjust to a semblance of normal life. Share your stories and ideas, and we’ll share any particularly good ideas with our readers.

Do you have a story?

Do you have a small business success story from the COVID-19 era? Drop us a line if so – we’d love to talk to you.

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