While the coronavirus pandemic continues, many people worry about their jobs, their health, and their future. 69 percent of surveyed employees say that the pandemic has been the most stress they’ve experienced during their career.
However, if you are a business leader, this pandemic can also be an opportunity for you to step up and showcase great leadership. Here are five ways you can help yourself and your employees stay successful during the coronavirus pandemic.
1. Adopt a People-First Mindset
While you should still focus on your business objectives, your first priority should be the health, safety, and security of the people who work for you. They are your most important company resource, so be prepared to offer your employees extra support.
Whether or not you have switched to a work-from-home business model, recognize that your employees may need extra time off or increased benefits, especially if they get sick. Be aware that you may be required to provide paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FMLA) and ensure that your employees understand how such legislation will affect them.
Above all, be empathetic and understanding. Check in with employees on a regular basis and see how they are doing, and be sure to ask if there is anything you can do to help them. Small expressions of care can go a long way towards promoting a healthy work culture, which will help your employees manage their stress better and increase productivity.
2. Stay Flexible
Along with your people-first mindset, practice flexibility. According to the National Center for PTSD, at this time business owners may want to adopt new work schedules, different time-off policies, or more flexible work roles depending on the needs of your employees and your business.
Work with your employees to determine their needs and how they can be met. This may also be an excellent time for you to consider your business policies and determine what is most important. You may find that certain standards or practices are not as essential as you thought, which could potentially lead you to a more streamlined and effective business.
3. Prioritize Honest Communication
You may already know that communication is key, but if your company has experienced upheaval, communication becomes even more important. Do whatever you must to ensure that everyone stays on the same page, whether you have to adopt new technology or increase the number of meetings you hold.
You should prioritize regular company-wide communication through whatever channels are most effective. You may want to offer updates about:
- Changes in work policies and policy flexibility
- Continued developments with the pandemic in your area
- How your company is doing as a whole
- Available resources and benefits for employees
Be sure to provide your employees with the information they need to be prepared for any changes. Be honest and open if your company may cut hours, reduce salaries, or even lay off employees. While no one likes to be the bearer of bad news, you have a responsibility to help your employees adapt to adverse work-related circumstances.
4. Avoid Worst-Case-Scenario Thinking
As you prioritize clear, open, and honest communication in your company, you should also be sure to avoid negativity. While you may have to give your employees less-than-ideal news about company revenue or available work hours, you can still be honest without giving way to pessimism.
Give your employees the facts and what strategies your company will employ to adapt as different situations progress. You can also tell them what they can do to help; whether that be donating vacation time, taking more unpaid time off, or being willing to help with the occasional task outside their job description.
Avoid speculation about how bad things may get in the future, and encourage your employees to do the same. Share news about positive developments and don’t be afraid to employ humor in your regular communications. As you set an example for positive thinking, your employees will be more likely to follow suit.
5. Plan for the Future
While the pandemic currently dominates the headlines, it won’t last forever. As you navigate your company through this challenging time, make sure that you continue to plan for the future.
While you may need to reevaluate your business’s top priorities in the short-term, continue to pay attention to long-term goals. Plan for how your company will reenter the post-pandemic market if you’ve had to suspend most of your operations, or consider how practices that you’ve started to employ now may benefit your business in the future.
You should also set aside resources to maintain your social media presence or advertising campaigns. Market research shows that many companies that stop advertising during an economic slump suffer a decrease in long-term sales and have difficulties recovering. In contrast, companies that continue to promote their brands have stock market value bounce back up to nine times more quickly.
Continue to set realistic company goals and demonstrate that you will continue to plan for the best, as you may find that your business practices now become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
6. Take Care of Yourself
As you set a positive example for your company, be sure to practice good self-care. As a company leader, you are also experiencing heightened levels of stress, so you should be kind to yourself as well as to your employees.
Take care of your own mental and physical health and maintain a healthy work-life balance. While it may be tempting to work non-stop to ensure your company’s success, make time for breaks and to connect with your loved ones. Create healthy boundaries to separate your work life from your personal life and encourage your employees to do the same, especially if they now work from home.
As you follow these tips to promote success at your company, you will find that you and your employees will better handle stress, increase productivity, and have more chances to adopt better business practices.