By providing strong leadership and the tools your team needs to do their jobs effectively, you can help keep them happy and healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.
We’re all facing radical changes to the way we work. Remote working is now the new normal, and as a business owner you may be rushing to put systems and processes in place to support this new way of running your practice.
One of the most important considerations is how you will support your team during this time. A remote working arrangement may be challenging for those who haven’t done it before – or those who are dealing with serious upheaval in their personal lives. What’s more, it can be difficult to remain motivated while there is so much going on around us.
Here are five ways to help your staff stay focused and productive in these challenging times.
1. Offer your team strong leadership
In times of crisis and struggle, people look to leaders for reassurance. Communicate regularly and honestly with your staff. Set up regular times to catch up, talk through priorities and issues, and answer their questions. Make sure your team know how to contact you in an emergency.
At the same time, you will need time for your own family and personal commitments – so be sure to delegate responsibilities where appropriate. And be empathetic to your team’s need for flexibility at this time. They may be home schooling children, sharing a small space with partners or flatmates also working from home, or supporting older or vulnerable family members.
2. Choose appropriate online work tools
Online tools can help you communicate together, share documents, hold online meetings and webinars, manage your workflow and share documents securely. To choose the right tools for your team, consider each one’s ease of use and cost, and whether it can be integrated with your current software. Many tools offer a free trial period, so you can try them out and then decide with your staff which tool works best for your business.
As your business increasingly goes online, you’ll also need to ramp up your cyber security. Using a password manager will help your team generate and retrieve strong passwords without needing to write them down or memorise them – keeping your clients’ data safe and making it easier to operate online.
3. Make the most of your technology
Online meetings may offer technical tools that you may not have access to in your meeting room. For example, you can share screens, diagrams, slide shows and documents easily and quickly online – or provide quick instructions via a chat box without disrupting the meeting.
If your team are new to online meetings, consider holding a short session about virtual etiquette, such as muting your line while others are speaking, using a virtual ‘hands up’ tool to take turns in speaking, or using emojis in online chats to communicate emotions.
4. Help the team keep up morale and spirits
Your team will be facing their own personal challenges, and they may be feeling isolated working at home. That’s why it’s important to keep up team morale. Consider holding virtual coffee meetups and lunches, or Friday afternoon drinks.
Prolonged stress and anxiety can also impact your team’s productivity. Try to offer your team as much support as possible. For example, check in with each team member regularly to ask how they are holding up and whether they need any help. If any of your team members are struggling mentally, you can encourage them to make use of the government’s Medicare-subsidised telehealth mental health services.
5. Encourage healthy habits
With regular routines disrupted, it’s easy to slump into counterproductive habits. Help your team establish good routines – and then stick to them.
Encourage your staff to start and finish work at the same time each day, and take lunch breaks away from their computer. Suggest they limit their intake of news, particularly if they are getting anxious, and to use social media during break time only. And remind them to keep up exercise – even if it’s just some yoga in the living room or walking the dog around the block.
Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468 (Colonial First State) is the issuer of super, pension and investment products. This is based on the understanding of current regulatory requirements and laws as at April 2020. While all care has been taken in the preparation of this document (using sources believed to be reliable and accurate), to the maximum extent permitted by law, no person including Colonial First State or any member of the Commonwealth Bank Group of companies, accepts responsibility for any loss suffered by any person arising from reliance on this information. This information is for the adviser only and should not be handed on to any investor. This information should only be treated as educational and not taken as any form of advice including but not limited to financial, business, or marketing. Seek professional advice when necessary. It does not take into account any person’s individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Financial Services Guide (FSG) before making any recommendations to a client. Clients should read the PDS and FSG before making an investment decision and consider talking to a financial adviser. The PDS and FSG can be obtained from colonialfirststate.com.au or by calling 13 18 36.