The Covid-19 pandemic took us all by surprise. Just a few months ago, nobody could have predicted that a contagious and potentially deadly virus would spread around the world, killing hundreds of thousands and forcing governments in the majority of countries to implement social isolation and social distancing measures in order to slow its spread.
However, we are now around three to four months into lockdown situations around the world and the vast majority of us have managed a steep learning curve towards managing life with social isolation measures and social distancing measures in place. If you run your own business, you’ll know this better than anyone. Of course, this new way of living is likely to have had a huge impact on your business and its operations. Even the most remote of businesses tends to still require some human contact to keep things ticking over. So, we’ve implemented all sorts of measures to try to keep things afloat while keeping our employees safe.
We’ve allowed staff who can work from home. We’ve furloughed any staff who can’t work from home, or we’ve encouraged them to continue to come into work and have provided PPE and implemented new guidelines to keep people as far apart from one another as possible. Employee health and safety is at the top of most of our list of priorities. But this isn’t where the hard work ends.
You’re going to have to consistently keep employees up to date with any changes you’re making and you’re going to have to do your best to help them to adapt to these changes in order to maintain productivity and high levels of staff satisfaction. Here are a few steps you can take to help different workers in this new mode of work.
Give Clear Guidelines to Those Working On-Site
Government guidelines are constantly changing, so rules that were relevant a few weeks ago may be outdated now. Keep a constant eye on the news and government guidelines that are being amended and changed. This way, you can make sure your on-site staff, in particular, are best protected at all times.
Ensure they all have clear guidelines on what they can and can’t do on site at any given time. When changes are implemented, hold a meeting and email out briefings on what changes have been made and how they impact your employees. This could involve things like recommended use of PPE from companies like that you can buy at ppesuppliesdirect.com and recommended distancing.
Support Remote Staff
If your staff used to work in-office, working from home is going to be a big change for them, as well as for you as a business owner. On their part, the novelty of working from home (skipping exhausting commutes, wearing what they want, being able to make better food for lunch breaks, etc) may be wearing off. Working from home requires a whole lot of self-control and self-management, as they aren’t going to have managers or other authority figures within their vicinity to encourage them to do exactly as they should be doing at all times.
They probably don’t have the same set meetings to outline exactly what everyone on their team is meant to be doing. They may not feel they have sufficient means of communication with managers and other colleagues, as they may be used to simply heading over to their desks and asking what needs to be asked. They may be finding it hard to focus themselves and they may be feeling lost as to what they’re meant to be doing and what is currently expected of them.
So, it’s up to you to support them to ensure that they’re able to work to the best of their ability at all times. First, you may want to start setting KPIs (“key performance indicators”) or targets. These will essentially essentially serve as goals that you expect your staff to achieve, making it clear what they need to do from home.
Make sure these targets are reasonable and be understanding that workers may be having a difficult time right now. Kids aren’t at school, so many may be trying to juggle childcare and work. You may want to offer flexible working hours to allow for this, so they can work once their kids are put to bed. The KPIs will then make it clear what is expected of everyone and can ensure that necessary work is still completed on time and to a good standard.
You may also need to invest in communications software to make sure all staff can meet and talk virtually in a similar way to how they would within the office. Programmes like Microsoft Teams are great in that they provide instant messaging options, video call options and more.
These are trying times for everyone. If you’re running a business, it’s going to take a lot of hard work and effort to keep things afloat and to make profits right now. But hopefully, some of the above advice should help you to support your staff properly and to help them to adjust to changes implemented throughout this pandemic!