For leaders and those running teams remotely, the relentless task of maintaining positive staff morale in 2020 might just be their biggest business challenge to date, according to a report by Offices.co.uk.
“Everyone is under huge strain, but it’s important for business bosses to recognise that staff are their best long-term asset and they need to really focus on helping everyone through these testing times”, explains Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk.
Humans thrive on social interaction, and society is built on networks of friends and work colleagues. Lockdown and home working have severed these important ties, isolating those vulnerable to low mood and those who need colleagues to boost their working energy. The compound effect is a group of people working for a business who are slowly losing direction.
“The negative mental health consequences of working from home in isolation with little real direction or goal is something that will hurt businesses in the long term. Bosses of all businesses need to realise that loneliness isn’t just being apart from people, it’s a lack of focus, support and inclusion”, explains Ratcliffe.
The company has offered a few tips to help keep workforces focussed and positive during lockdown:
Talk Openly with Staff
At a time of uncertainty with both work and life, your staff need to know you are in control and have a plan. You control their security. Speaking openly with all team members helps them know they have a captain in control who shares their worries and is there for them.
Encourage Social Interaction
Even if it’s a chore to set up, video conferencing via apps like Zoom etc at a set time each week enables social and work structure. Try Monday morning for work matters and Friday afternoon for informal chat. Seeing everyone on a big screen helps those struggling to know they aren’t in this alone.
Phone, don’t Email
With work schedules all over the place, emailing might be the easy way. The problem is its detached and distant, so try and phone to reinforce social contact and encourage this across the business.
Speak to all staff on a regular basis and instead of sales or work talk, make sure you are asking how they are and how they are feeling. Take a more personable approach to communications.
Sharing is Caring
As a boss your staff appreciate your honestly and focus. Talk about the problems you are facing, how you are dealing with them and the long-term goals of the company. People need compassion and honesty from their leader during uncertain times.
“It’s a seriously challenging time for anyone managing a business large or small. From payroll admin and red tape to financial pressures – the bosses of SME’s are up against it all. However, now is the time their staff need them most, and leaders who can step up to this challenge will reap the rewards longer term,” adds Ratcliffe.