The COVID-19 pandemic has pulled people from their workplaces, from their social routines, and from their familiar normalities and surroundings. Fortunately, we as a national community have persevered, and we are beginning to see many of these normalities returning once again. But we are not the same employees, managers, or team members that we were before. In this blog post, we will provide you with tangible tips to help you support your staff, post-covid.
Many industries and individuals have suffered losses; with tourism, airlines and public entertainment industries taking the biggest hits. These great losses are paralleled with mental health issues for many. Some have lost their jobs, and are struggling to transfer their skills into a new industry. Others have managed to keep their jobs, but are increasingly under pressure due to poor economic conditions – and possible staff shortages.
Changing For The Better.
While many industries have suffered, others have adapted and made major internal and external pivots to change their business for the better. Empty restaurants pivoted to start selling essential products such as face masks, groceries, and hand sanitiser. Local manufacturing has also experienced pivots, where car engineers have transplanted their skillset into the desperate health industry.
With these pivots came the need for internal shifts; giving working-from-home staff flexibility with their time, allowing space for deep thought, and for healthy company culture to become the new normal. But as we shift back into the office and (hopefully) leave covid in the dust, we must remember the positive changes that occurred, and carry them with us to continue to support our staff with as much dedication and integrity as we built during the trying times of the pandemic.
Supporting Your Staff.
Strengthen your communication channels (if you haven’t already)
Supporting your staff starts with strong and optimized communication channels. Communication channels include any digital communications, face-to-face communications, or written communications. Odds are, you have been engaging with your team through digital channels most during the pandemic. What have you been using? Has this been working for you and your staff? Now is the time to take stock, ask your employees where comms can be improved, or do the research yourself. There are thousands of internal communications tools online, and understanding your team needs will be imperative in choosing the right avenue.
Not sure where to start? Let’s chat – we have worked across industries developing internal communications for the most complex of workplaces, and we would be happy to help.
Maintaining flexibility with hours and location
Maintaining a work life balance is one of the most topical subjects across industries currently – with many people forced to have this balance tested through working from home during lockdowns. As organisations trickle back into the office in the coming weeks, the Great Resignation (as we have seen in the US) could be upon us as many realise that they actually prefer the flexibility that comes with working from home, and on their own schedule. To avoid this sudden shift it will be critical to maintain this sense of flexibility – in both hours and location – for your staff.
(If returning to offices) Allow physical space for deep thought
If working from home has taught us anything, it has shown the importance of a quiet and secluded workspace. With household rhythms of pets, children, and life turned dense and amplified, finding a quiet place to work for some may have been like finding a needle in a haystack. Similarly, pre-pandemic, one of the main sources of dissatisfaction with office work was the open-plan office space, aimed at promoting collaboration but inversely, created minimal opportunities for individual, focused work. As many Australians bought desks and settled into working from home, 6 in 10 workers reported higher productivity levels than when they were working in an office. Allowing for a flexible work schedule is one option, but considering and re-jigging your office space design that allows for small breakout rooms and focus areas could be another.
Company health & culture
Thriving workplaces have strong leaders and rich company culture. Engaging with employees in both formal and informal settings will be key in ensuring that your employees have the support that they need. Additional offerings such as afternoon drinks, team learning sessions, and other informal get-togethers will not only encourage a sense of belonging and togetherness, but will allow space for the team to support one another through the shared emotional turbulence that will come with recovering from lockdowns and restrictions. The more communication and support there is internally, the higher your employee productivity and retention will be, making for a more profitable business overall.
A Changed World, a Changed Workforce.
Returning our various workplaces to some form of “normal” is going to be interesting across industries. Some businesses have made pivots for the better, while others are slowly coming out of the hole that the covid restrictions placed them in. No matter where your organisation sits in the scheme of things, supporting your staff through the transition period and beyond will be key in the current and future success of your business.
FROM THE BLOG
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