COVID-19: What Employees Need from Their Managers

Leaders worldwide undoubtedly wonder how, with the knock-on effect of a pandemic, they can alleviate any fear or anxiety from their employees?

Despite previous world crises such as the great depression, the events of 9/11 and the 2008 recession, it’s probably safe to say that we have not experienced anything quite like the COVID-19 pandemic in our lifetime.

With 37% of respondents to the CIPD and Simply Health Health and wellbeing survey saying that stress-related absence had increased in the last year and employees still less than likely to feel confident to speak up about their concerns, now it’s more important for leaders to be ‘conscious’ in the workplace than ever before.

How to Adapt Leadership during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Plan of Action for Employees Returning to the Office

With most employees now returning to the office, putting safety measures in place and giving your staff members a re-induction into the workplace will help ease them back into the office environment and keep them engaged. Implementing COVID-secure workplace guidelines will encourage staff to practise procedures such as social distancing safely and effectively.

With most workers in the UK claiming to prefer working from home, it’s important to consider why they’d rather this option instead of returning to the office. Is it due to health reasons? Do they feel that it’s safer? Or do they believe in reducing their carbon footprint? Be sure to listen and provide any necessary reassurance if required.

Offering Support to Employees Wherever Necessary 

There are many ways you can support your team at work, no matter which role you are in. The responsibility sits more heavily on the shoulders of company managers, as employees will look to them more for advice and support.

Here are some things to offer support for your employees:

  • Keep employees well informed — Leaders should communicate clearly, promptly and honestly about the company’s current state of affairs. Many employees will be anxious about whether their job is safe if they are not kept informed about the company’s current status.
  • Implement employee wellbeing software to help with performance and wellbeing — these are great tools for measuring wellbeing, advising employees on how they can improve on this while being a safe place for them to speak out if they have any concerns or issues.
  • Offer one-to-one sessions — whether via video call or face-to-face; employees will appreciate the time given to them to speak about any concerns they may have.
  • Work/life balance — Encourage your employees to be flexible with their working hours, disconnect when they’re not working, and take the time needed to cope with any emotional stressors. It’s vital to support a balance that creates time for self-care. 

As challenging as this time has been for both leaders and employees, these steps offer a welcome opportunity to strengthen trust and engagement within the workplace.