Many of us have been working from home for the better part of a month—or longer—and corporations are scrambling for ways to keep employees engaged and productive. This may feel insurmountable, but there are several simple steps organizations can take to support employees during this uncertain time.
- Be compassionate: What we are experiencing isn’t normal and people may not seem like themselves—that’s okay. Organizations should emphasize compassion in their communications and acknowledge the fluid, uncertain nature of our global health crisis. Managers and team members should be encouraged to be forgiving and empathetic toward each other. If someone seemed short or frustrated during a meeting or in an email—try not to fire back and instead send them compassion. Giving people the benefit of the doubt is more important now than ever.
- Promote flexibility: Everyone is dealing with the pandemic and adapting to our new normal as best they can. With kids at home, nursing home visiting hours suspended, and many flights grounded, employees need more flexibility to deal with personal matters and take care of their mental health. Organizations and managers should ensure everyone feels supported and can have the flexibility they need to manage their workload and personal needs.
- Respect boundaries: With most of us working from home, employees are having a difficult time distinguishing between work and home. Organizations should empower teams to create boundaries between these spaces. Have employees block early mornings and evenings from their calendars, to focus on their home lives. Give workers a small stipend to buy supplies they need to create an office space in their home. And if something is not absolutely critical, do not send a communication outside of typical working hours.
- Create communication channels: Working from home can make it hard for employees to feel engaged and for managers to understand their teams’ needs. Organizations should create clear channels of communication through virtual office hours or regular email communications. Managers should check in with direct reports regularly and promote an environment where employees can voice their needs and concerns.
While these steps are critical for organizations right now, they are also important shifts in corporate culture we should carry forward when we return to the office. Shifting corporate environments away from competition toward compassion creates more creative, innovative teams.
Be Meditation has created programs to help corporations navigate this changing paradigm—now and in more normal times—and you can read more here.
How has your company promoted mental health and work-life-balance during the pandemic? Let us know in the comments below.