After several weeks of working under difficult circumstances due to COVID-19, your team may be getting restless. While some people may enjoy working remotely, others may struggle with isolation. In addition, essential workers who must interact with other people may be coping with increased stress and worry.
If you sense that your team is struggling, these steps may help:
1. Consult with Human Resources
Ask what resources may be available to help address any concerns your team may have, both in terms of work and with regard to managing family, financial or health issues.
2. Schedule a Meeting
Depending on the situation, you may want to schedule one large meeting or plan for smaller, one-on-one chats or video conferences. It may be helpful to have employees break off into small groups where they can share concerns and provide support, too.
Sample language: “I know this is a very strange situation and many of us are not used to working in these conditions. I wanted to see how everyone is coping.”
Focus on what people are saying about their current work experience or the problems they may be encountering. Ask open-ended questions to learn more about concerns.
Sample language: “Tell me how things are going. What’s been working well? What challenges are you running into?”
4. Offer Solutions
Brainstorm ideas for sorting out difficulties. Look for simple, practical workarounds for problems.
Sample language: “This is a frustrating situation, but I’m sure we can figure out a solution. Can you think of another way to do this with what you have on hand?”
5. Encourage Community
If your team is now physically separated, look for clever ways to continue workplace traditions. For instance, if your team meets for lunch once a week, try having lunch together by video conference instead. Start an email chain where people can share book or movie recommendations, pet or family pictures or positive stories.
6. Stay in Touch
Keep checking in with your team, either individually or with larger meetings. Look for ways to help your team grow closer even when working apart.
Sample language: “Let’s plan to meet regularly. If you have ideas for how to make things easier during this unusual time, please send them my way.”