It’s an unprecedented time in business. There’s a lot of uncertainty. People are tired, grieving, and quite frankly over social distancing! We are still here, however; and work still needs to be done. As a leader, now is the time for some creative ideas to make this challenging time a more positive experience for everyone.
First, let’s remember a few key things as business owners and managers:
- Resources at home are hard to come by, so productivity probably won’t be as high. Let’s give employees a break as we get through this.
- Parents are now teachers, and some young adults are now their parents’ caregivers. It’s a lot of added stress.
- People are fearful. High stress often reduces our ability to work effectively.
- For some, work just isn’t the priority right now. Sometimes mental health will need to come first.
Sounds a bit depressing? That’s where you come in. You can help lighten the financial and emotional burdens that come with living through a pandemic by …
Bringing on the Positivity!
Here are some of the many ways that you can spread positivity and encouragement:
Share Positive Things
New services and social media are focusing heavily on COVID-19 and its economic impact right now, so make an effort to find something, anything, that is positive. Congratulate an employee for a job well done during a conference call. Continue to celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries — from an appropriate social distance, of course. Share heartwarming videos. (After all, who doesn’t enjoy cute kids and kittens?) The last thing any of us need is a rehashing of the same bleak news stories and dire predictions. Find good news in the world and share it.
Do Good Deeds
Even if your location is still in stay-at-home mode, you can participate in and encourage random acts of kindness. The simplest things can touch the hearts of employees and community members — especially our essential workers. Coming together with friends and colleagues to give back in some way is also a great way to keep your team together while you’re physically apart. Acts of kindness can have positive mental health benefits, too.
Hang Out Virtually
After a long day of virtual meetings, it can be tempting to veg out on the sofa and binge your favorite streaming services. But video conferencing doesn’t have to be for work only. Go beyond work-related gatherings, and talk with friends and family. Look at their faces! Ask how they’re doing. Wear pants. Some video chat applications let you change your background or use filters to change your appearance. Be a potato relaxing on a tropical beach today! Lighten up, and bring someone a smile.
Maintain a Schedule
Have you noticed a sense of timelessness during our time in quarantine? A schedule can provide a comforting semblance of normalcy in midst of all the chaos. It will also make the eventual transition back to a more typical work situation easier. So while we may have to eliminate some activities, stick to your normal schedule as much as possible for those that remain and encourage your team to do likewise.
Allow for Down Time
Ironically, not physically going to work is actually more work for some people. Remember, many parents just became emergency teachers. Eliminate non-essential tasks so your team can focus on “found time” with friends and family. When we look back, that’s what we’ll want to recall. Be the employer that lets that happen.
Support Mental Health
Keep in mind that even when we are not going through a global pandemic, 1 in 5 people deal with mental health issues. Many of the most common conditions, such as anxiety disorders, are easily overlooked or dismissed by non-medical professionals. Additionally, there is still a lot of stigma around mental health issues, and some people may be reluctant to ask for support. So while we are socially distancing for our physical health, let’s make sure we value mental health, too.
This Too Shall Pass
Remember, this is not forever. We are all doing what we can to adapt and overcome. We will not be perfect in our efforts, and trying to juggle so much may cause a few things to fall. Allow yourself and others some grace as we deal with this novel situation. Years from now, people will remember most the way others made them feel. So use this time to make people feel good.