These are stressful times. The world as we know it is coming crashing down with every passing day. Economies have taken a massive hit due to the coronavirus pandemic. People are being laid off, furloughed, or forced to take huge pay cuts.
And people with jobs and salaries live in constant fear. The collective morale of our society seems to be low with people staring uncertainty in the face.
At this time, many companies are going the extra mile to boost employee morale. Not only does this make people more productive but it also sparks a sense of gratitude and helps companies bounce back as they reopen after the lockdown.
Ahead Of The Curve
As companies grapple with the logistics of reopening offices, many big global companies have already begun to pave the way for this new world of work: one which is more considerate and empathetic to the needs of its employees.
Keeping the health risks of the pandemic in mind, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and IBM declared that employees can work from home, potentially until next year or more. Microsoft announced it will continue to pay hourly workers through the shutdown.
In India, Asian Paints went a step further and raised salaries for its employees to lift their spirits.
Apart from flexibility in working and assurance in financial security, companies are also focusing on the mental well-being of their employees.
The Economic Times reported that most major companies including Dabur, Flipkart, KPMG, Tata Steel, BigBasket, and Axis Bank said that saving human capital and focusing on employee well-being was their biggest priority right now.
They have come up with some unusual ideas from a doctor on call and psychological counseling to online meditation and fitness sessions and virtual team lunches to keep their employees motivated and engaged.
Similarly, tech company Capgemini, Ceat Tyres, and Brookfield Properties are also providing support to employees to take care of their mental health through webinars, podcasts, consultations, and meditation sessions.
Closer home, Harappa Education too has made sure all its employees are safe and feel supported. The company constantly connects with us over webinars and emails to keep us in the loop, making us feel more secure.
So how can you make sure your employees stay positive? Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, here are some ideas:
1. Let them know you care: Even if you assume they know it already, there’s nothing wrong with reinforcing your priorities and reminding your employees that they are at the heart of the decisions you take. Reassure them that their physical health, safety, and mental well-being is of utmost priority to your company. Ask your managers to check in with everyone, and especially those away from families or in harsher conditions.
2. Make your policies flexible: Taking a cue from some of the biggest companies in the world, rework your existing policies for your employees. Allow for flexible work hours, a designated lunch break, and take into account peoples’ personal circumstances.
3. Over-communicate: It’s a good idea to communicate with employees as much as you can. Share with them your experiences of running a business during a pandemic, how you think things will change, how you plan to reopen the office, and what the process of returning to work will be like. Even if you don’t have concrete answers to some of these questions, it’s a good idea to keep the conversation going.
4. Start initiatives to keep spirits up: Whether it is offering counseling sessions, organizing games or webinars, subscriptions to online learning, or weekly catch-ups, do your bit to lift employee morale.
5. Trust, don’t micromanage: Trust that everybody has your best interest in mind and is trying their best to meet your expectations. With everything changing so quickly, it will take some time before people find stability and a work-life balance. Encourage them to take initiative for projects and support them through it, without micromanaging their every step.
Treating employees well during this time of crisis will pay off. Happier employees make more productive employees.
Learn to build trust-rich work relationships with the Establishing Trust course from Harappa Education. Foster strong trust-based relationships at work with our Online Courses to make your world of work better.
Manisha Koppala is an Associate Specialist in the Curriculum team at Harappa Education. The literature graduate from Ashoka University loves a cup of good coffee and happens to be a free-hugs dispenser.
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