Hints & Tips Blog
Looking After Your Team’s Well-Being in Lockdown 3.0
It’s fair to say most of us were probably glad to see the back of 2020. But with positive news on the vaccine and a little more certainty in the form of a Brexit deal, some of us dared to start allowing ourselves a little more optimism for 2021. Enter a new variant of the Coronavirus and a new national lockdown and we were once again juggling increased restrictions, home-schooling and an unrelenting commentary from the media, alongside our continuing business recovery and growth plans.
We’ve endured lockdowns before and come through it. However, it’s probably also true to say after almost a year of uncertainty, anxiety and stress, both at work and at home, some in our teams may be suffering from higher levels of ‘covid-fatigue’ than ever before. Resilience, therefore, cannot be taken for granted in our teams, and despite the vaccine rollout providing some much-needed hope, we need to be aware that a focus on employee support and wellbeing is as critical now as ever.
So, what can we do to help our teams through to the other side?
- Continue the focus on communication
Many companies introduced more formal and informal communication than ever before in the first lockdown. Regular all company updates, increased line manager check-ins, WhatsApp groups and online social interaction were all rolled out in many companies. Ironically, given the circumstances, levels of engagement in many organisations improved with this increased communication, with engagement standing up particularly well in those companies who ensured the communication was two-way.So, don’t let communication fall off the agenda now – renew your commitment and your plan for both keeping people informed, keeping work steams effective, but also checking in on how people are coping and feeling. The sooner you are aware of potential issues, the quicker you can provide support and prevent more serious problems.
- Beware of Zoom fatigue
Most of us have experienced meeting frustration and fatigue even in ‘normal’ times. Meetings that eat up time, have an unclear purpose and few outcomes are productivity killers at the best of times. Add in eye strain, headaches, time delays, poor internet speeds and interruptions from children or delivery drivers and it’s a whole new level of challenge, often without the beneficial social aspects that face to face meetings can provide.While communication is important as we’ve outlined above, maintaining productivity and morale also need factoring in. Who really needs to be on the video call? Can key priorities for discussion be agreed beforehand? Can you ensure decisions will be made, recorded and actioned so the same conversations are not rehashed in a call the next week?On a practical level, the visual concentration needed for a video call is far higher than in a face to face meeting. In addition, even when we’re not on Zoom the amount of time we’re looking at our computer screens is likely to have increased significantly with home working. One survey found that half of the respondents said they used their screens far more since Covid struck and 38% of those believed their eyesight had worsened as a result. Eye health charity ‘Fight for Sight’ recommends people use the “20-20-20” rule to protect their sight – i.e. looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds, for every 20 minutes you look at a screen.So, assess whether Zoom calls are the best medium for what you want to achieve? If it’s a meeting with just 2 people personally I have found an old fashioned ‘phone call’ is a welcome relief. Or traditional conference calls or voice calls via apps such as WhatsApp can also work well when Zoom fatigue has taken hold.
In our next edition of Business Insights, we’ll look at more ways to look after your team in lockdown 3.0 and help them focus on ‘what’s next?’
All of our consultants have successfully run businesses and our practical approach to supporting our clients enables us to share our real-world experience to positively impact on the performance of your business. If you’re interested in hearing how we can help you, or want to know more about our Business Leadership programmes get in touch.