For many businesses, 2020 has been a challenging time, presenting unique challenges around how we effectively manage our teams.
With remote working and virtual meetings suddenly becoming the norm, people management has become more nuanced. Not least from an increased focus on physical and mental wellbeing as employees navigate pandemic life and all its impacts.
Helping employees build resilience as well as implementing a workflow system that is measurable, adaptive and responsive, can help to overcome the challenges of the current environment and ensure your business is best equipped to survive and prosper.
Communicating well helps, more often and in many and varied ways, to keep everyone feeling connected when face to face working is non-existent or much reduced.
To emerge from COVID-19 in the best possible shape, some of the things we have been focusing on in our team are:
Our leaders across the business have been very conscious of inspiring positivity to keep their teams engaged with our vision and purpose. Being positive has to be intentional, especially amidst the strain of the pandemic and business uncertainty.
For us, we kept focus on our foundational ethos of activating voice by collaborating with and supporting Indigenous communities, artists and knowledge holders. Keeping your employees consciously connected to your purpose and values helps maintain the team’s and your clients’ engagement and confidence.
Mental health support
Prior to COVID-19, we had a mental health support system in place which included mental health awareness training for all staff. Something I’m very glad we did as it prepared us for the mental and emotional challenges of COVID-19.
Mental health support in the workplace has become essential. Fear, anxiety, depression, social isolation and illness are factors that affect us all or those around us. Reinforcing messages about prioritising mental health, creating space for self-care, and eliminating any stigma surrounding mental illness has been part of our everyday practice. As has providing one-on-one support, formally and informally, when needed.
Creating space for wellbeing
In addition to supporting mental health, it’s critical to look after your physical and emotional wellbeing during the sort of extreme upheaval we have all been living through. Allowing employees to have more flexibility than usual in their role to create space for self-care, can happily sit alongside the KPIs and benchmarks that need to be achieved, as long as accountability is in your team’s DNA.
Having employees sit at a desk for eight hours straight every day doesn’t necessarily result in efficient or effective workflow. Remote working naturally allows for more flexibility and can have significant productivity and wellbeing benefits. Lunchtime walks, micro-breaks, and flexible working hours around family schedules or fitness and leisure, are some of the new ways of working that we need to encourage as leaders to support our employees as they navigate the disruption of this pandemic.
Every business has been impacted by COVID-19, some more negatively than others. Many of these impacts are out of our control. However, how we manage our teams and support them through times of uncertainty can be the tipping point that ensures a business is able to stabilise and grow in the most challenging environment of a generation for many leaders.
Ros Moriarty, Co-founder and Managing Director, Balarinji