Hints & Tips Blog
Looking After Your Team’s Well-Being in Lockdown 3.0 – Part 2
Last time we considered why it might not be ‘lockdown business as usual’ in this latest lockdown, the importance of a continued commitment to communication and being aware of the dangers of ‘Zoom fatigue’.
Here’s 3 more ways you can support your team in getting through to the other side.
- Have realistic expectations & set achievable goals
Both for you and the team. The feeling that we ‘know what we’re doing now’ can be double-edged. We’ve learned a lot over the last 11 months about how to work differently and still get things done, but assuming everyone is just ‘cracking on’ with it can lead to problems. Taking time to assess what is realistic for people to achieve and providing them the space to do things differently and around their other commitments can actually mean we get more from our teams, not less. Plus, it can increase their loyalty and commitment to the company given you have shown the same to them.Breaking things down and agreeing regular, manageable goals will help them feel more in control and provide a sense of achievement as they tick tasks off the list. The same will be true for you. Whether your business has seen growth or contraction through the pandemic it’s likely there will be a continued need for change and adaptation, plus new and different challenges ahead. So, identifying the individual steps needed to tackle seemingly unending challenges will help you manage and action your next steps and provide you with a sense of progress.
- Take notice
As with the initial lockdown, it’s potentially less easy to spot when someone in the team is struggling from a distance. Taking notice of small changes, as well as larger ones, can enable you to pick up clues if all is not well. Some people will be prepared to say if they are struggling, for example with homeschooling, others less so. And in both cases, you need to make the room to ask. Having regular check-ins which are less ‘task’ or work-related and more focused on ‘How are you? How are you feeling? Is there anything that you need from me?’ can provide the opportunity for more open conversations. Looking out for people being less communicative, less quick to volunteer for things they used to enjoy, showing signs of stress such as higher levels of frustration or lower levels of patience with team members can all point to help or support is needed. But given everyone is different it’s important not to make assumptions. All of us have ‘off days’ especially in times like these. So, taking notice of trends is also important. It’s never too early to ask, ‘How are you?’ but commenting that someone seems ‘overwrought’ after a single example may be less helpful. So, taking notice, making time and opening up non ‘task-based’ communication can all help us assess when additional support might be needed.
- Look ahead
While being aware of issues at the moment and providing support is important, so too is helping people look ahead and ‘see the light at the end of the tunnel’. Now more than ever the vaccine helps us hope there is an end in sight. After almost a year of uncertainty, refocusing on longer-term goals can provide a sense of stability. While there are many things still beyond our control, there are things we can start to plan and provide more certainty about.This might be renewing the company’s long term vision and goals or looking ahead to how the company will operate in the new world of work. For example, engaging with employees now about what the company will need from them and understanding what they now expect from the company in the future, is one such area. The last 11 months have shown that many traditional ‘work-based’ roles can be done from home, but what is less clear at the moment is whether this is an optimum or productive long term option, and what positive elements might be lost. However, many employees will expect the option of more flexible or home working in the future. So, understanding what is important from their perspective and starting the conversation now about what the company will need going forward will show you are planning ahead for more positive times, and learning the lessons of the last year.
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