How to support your team, in times of a pandemic and beyond

Our world is experiencing an extraordinary health emergency. Our well-being enables us to live our lives, each in our unique way. COVID-19 is literally taking this away from us. For each person on Earth these are challenging times, where we try to cope to the best of our abilities. In the last couple of weeks there is a lot written on the relationship between employer and employee in these unprecedented times. We are not just working from home. We’re working from home in a pandemic. If things feel different it’s because they are different.

In this blog we want to underline the importance of paying attention to the overall well-being of employees. Not only in critical times, but as an approach that is deeply rooted in our (company) culture of care. In our opinion both employer and employees bare the responsibility to support well-being. As our sense of well-being should transcends the hierarchical relationship in building a positive workplace.

Communication and empathic leadership are vital, in any context. Appropriate communication and leadership style are imperative in high-velocity settings. As organizations we need to ensure that the right leaders are at the helm to both communicate directives and provide needed encouragement during times of crisis. Having impartial and supportive supervision structures in place can be a tremendous help. Promoting effective people management to ensure all employees have a regular conversation about their health and wellbeing with their line manager, supervisor or organisational leader. Invest in training and support line managers in effective management practices. Being available, in the present moment, can help maintain good working relationships and build mutual trust. 

Take a look at our tips below on how you can support well-being in teams. Do not forget yourself in this process, practice self care everyday.

How you can contribute to your team members well-being;

  • Be open 
    • Invite people in dialogue and decision making to create a culture of openness
  • Use two way communication 
  • Individualize as much as possible, because one size does not fit all
  • Be positive 
    • Focus on what employees can do, rather than what they can’t, providing training, mentoring or coaching
    • Provide assignments aligned with the employee’s talents help the individual develop those talents into strengths while improving business outcomes
  • Develop an atmosphere of trust by regularly asking for feedback about the support you provide
  • Be a role model for well-being improvement by communicating your own well-being priorities with your teams. Tell them about your goals and the steps you’re taking to reach them
  • Be supportive, approachable and responsive, ensuring that you are available for regular work-related conversations and increasing the frequency of catch-up time, if required
  • Create opportunities for coaching, learning and development 
  • Support a culture of teamwork, collaboration and information sharing
  • Support staff to develop personal resilience and coping strategies
  • Encourage positive relationships with colleagues and provide mediation where necessary
  • Promote a work life balance, perceived as healthy by the individual
  • Formal or informal buddying systems for people to have the opportunity to talk to someone other than their manager
  • Put a hold on micromanagement
    • Micromanagement leads to greater feelings of anxiety and depression at work, disengagement, lower motivation and decreased performance. Managers should encourage employees to think proactively and take responsibility for how they hit their targets and goals. 
  • Remember that taking the time to slow down, to reflect on oneself and others, and be deliberate can make a tremendous difference. Both on individual as group as organisational level

It is clear that taking a whole organisation approach to embedding wellbeing into an organisational culture is key to achieving maximum impact. Wellbeing should be positioned as a strategic boardroom issue supporting thriving people, thriving business and thriving communities.

Let us all support each other.

Sources

https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/textbook-of-disaster-psychiatry/pandemics-health-care-emergencies/478824C480288A8935798FBF151D96FA/core-reader

https://www.gallup.com/workplace/263510/manage-remote-employees.aspx

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Pamela_Douglas4/publication/44568839_Preparing_for_pandemic_influenza_and_its_aftermath_Mental_health_issues_considered/

https://www.mind.org.uk/media/25263166/how-to-implement-the-thriving-at-work-mental-health-standards-final-guide-online.pdf