As companies frantically try to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, many HR teams find themselves with an alarmingly jam-packed workload. Employee interviews need to be postponed, telework policies implemented or adjusted, health and wellness protocols changed. And when everyone is in crisis mode, it’s easy to let a simple, but crucial, aspect of the job fall to the wayside: being there for your employees.
While setting up work-from-home, sorting out paychecks and PTO, and all the other ins and outs of your company’s crisis plan does help your workers, what many people need right now is empathy, compassion and someone to talk to. This is a stressful and downright scary time for many, and as human resources professionals it’s our job to be there for our coworkers when they need that support.
Here are a few things you can do (remotely) to help emotionally support your employees as we withstand the global coronavirus pandemic.
1. Set Up Regular Video Check Ins
With a large portion of the American workforce practicing social distancing, quarantining, and working from home, it’s easy for employees to feel isolated and disconnected. While many workers will get a chance to get some face time with their team members over video conferences and meetings, it’s important they also get time to simply chat, catch up, and be there for each other—just as they would in the office. Consider setting up daily or biweekly video conferences, either one-on-ones or small groups, that allow workers to hang out and converse about non-work-related topics.
2. Be Considerate Of Each Individual Work Environment
While it’s certainly possible to be just as productive working from home as you would be in the office, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s new work environment is going to be different, and potentially present new challenges. Workers may be sharing cramped office spaces with a spouse or roommate, and employees with children who are home from school may have to juggle parental duties in between their typical responsibilities. It’s important to be understanding and compassionate as both employees and employers adjust to these new circumstances, and not to hold the growing pains of mass teleworking against them.
3. Lead With Care
Above all, openly let your employees know that you are a resource for them in these turbulent times. By leading with compassion, care, and empathy above all else, you can help keep office morale high and enable employees to feel safe and secure, despite the global pandemic.