The Covid-19 pandemic is challenging us in ways we could never have predicted, from working remotely, to feeling trapped indoors and other unprecedented changes to our daily lives. These sudden, rapid changes in the way we live, coupled with uncertainty, can feel overwhelming at times. But, through conscious effort and continuous mindfulness, we can overcome this. Research over the years has shown us that there is a direct correlation between our health and optimism.
So, how should companies respond in such a trying environment and what can be done to foster positivity?
In times of crisis, it is a general tendency for organisations to pull back on their vision and focus on the fundamentals of business and profitability. It is at this very moment that companies need to take a step back and remind themselves of their guiding principles, instead of narrowing their attention. Companies that thrive are those that take a calculated and purposeful decisions that cover a wide array of factors, such as the well-being of employees, strategy and overall vision.
Within an organisation, disorganisation could spark fear. This distracts employees from achieving their goals and pushing the company forward. It is important that when suggesting and implementing new approaches to business, constant communication is key to make sure everyone is engaged and committed.
Employees want to feel their work matters and getting them involved in business strategy, could help staff who are working remotely feel more connected, included and valued.
Companies also need to increase their trust in their employees. This brings about positive outcomes such as improved job satisfaction and better performance. Stress levels also appear to be lower in companies that trust more and individuals are generally happier. These are important statistics to consider amid the rise in pandemic-related anxiety relating to job loss and pay cuts.
Ultimately, providing a clear vision and building trust with your employees will lead to a more focused, efficient and happier workplace.
Nothing says you care about your employees like giving them an opportunity to grow and learn. There might be extended periods of non-productivity due to business slow down during this period. You can make it work to your advantage by allowing and even encouraging your employees to take up new skills. Upskilling has a strong positive influence on employee involvement and social capital retention, all of which increase efficiency.
There are endless ways to upskill. Strategies such as peer mentoring and in-house skills sessions, advanced and technology-related courses and the use of augmented reality and virtual reality are not only effective, but are also future-proof.
In the best of times, morale is vital, but now it is even more critical. You will need to focus on making emotional wellbeing a priority in your organisation. While success will not be instantly evident, you will start to notice the effects it has on your employees and, in turn, on your business in the long run.
Practicing empathy in the company will go a long way. The pandemic has affected people in many ways, someone could have lost a loved one, or not been able to travel to see their families, or being experience economic strains.
Companies should be mindful and understanding, during these unprecedented times and react with empathy rather than anger, if confronted with a mistake or delay. While it is important to set and expect high standards for quality of work, there is always room for an empathetic approach and your employees will appreciate it.
The choices that an organisation makes today will determine how your business is perceived for years to come. Being vigilant in our vision, strategy and approach amid this pandemic should be a priority for us all. At times of uncertainty, staying calm and optimistic will help us get through challenges and, ultimately, make us more resilient.