The biggest cause of anxiety and stress right now is the uncertainty about how long the coronavirus pandemic will affect our lives. Add to the mix the impact of social isolation and one thing becomes very clear - we need to prioritise health and wellbeing at work.
Create a healthy team culture by caring
At the beginning of the pandemic, we shared our thoughts on how to measure readiness in business, with these 4 elements:
Prepared: Have the policies and procedures for this change been received and understood by all our people?
Enabled: Are we taking practical steps to support our people during this change in working practices?
Visibility: Do our teams communicate and stay connected as they navigate this change?
Care: Are we considering the personal needs of our people, and are managers actively supporting them?
As the crisis continues, the Care element takes on an increased relevancy - as creating a healthy team culture becomes key. You need to pay attention to the following:
- Wellbeing. Managers should regularly check on the welfare of their team members and provide support where possible.
- Consideration. Managers are adjusting to the personal situations and needs of their team as situations rapidly change.
- Connection. Managers are proactively connecting with their teams as they navigate any changes.
Let’s go into these in a little more detail:
Check in regularly. Leaders and managers should regularly check in on people, but employees should also feel free to share their physical and mental health work experiences. Create a culture where everyone checks in on each other.
Exercise. Encourage employees to stay physically active where possible. At Qlearsite, we have had various online yoga classes suggestions circling. More and more gyms and fitness providers are offering online classes and YouTube has some good free offers also.
Meditation. One of the best scientifically-proven stress-busters. There are lots of meditation apps - try Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer or Aura - that also include self-hypnosis for stress relief. There are also many free options on YouTube.
Understanding. Offices, workplaces and schools are closed, so employees are going to be working at home, sometimes in quite challenging circumstances. Managers need to understand and have compassion for each individual’s unique circumstances.
Flexibility. These times may call for more flexibility than usual, some out of the box thinking and problem solving. This is a new way of working and who knows how long it will be like this. Flexibility will serve everyone in the long run.
Agility. During crises, especially where the situation is rapidly changing, people look to leaders and managers to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. This requires staying up to date on the latest situation and making fast decisions.
Connect purely to socialise. Since we’re mostly working from home, we’ll be missing out on those informal chats as we make tea in the kitchen. These social connections are very important to us humans as a species - make sure you take the time to connect, using virtual meeting places, outside of specific work topics.
Build trust. Leading a team of people who you can’t physically see requires a great deal of trust from managers. They must, therefore, build an atmosphere of psychological safety, in which their team can work without fear that their managers don’t trust them.
Use video. Use video calling where possible over email and phone. Video calling is the closest thing we have to being there in person, it creates more connection as you can read non-verbal communication not accessible in email.
Identifying the next steps for wellbeing
Understanding how to look after your teams comes by listening - whether its mental health, work issues, or physical concerns. By asking the right questions and correctly interpreting the answers, you can learn where you need to focus when it really matters: