We are half a year into lockdown, and working from home is still a challenge. Initially, the biggest challenge for companies was to organize tech solutions and get remote working systems in place. Once they got their processes in order, the next challenge was emotional.

Socialization is a vital part of a person’s wellbeing. With virtual work replacing physical offices, social isolation can lead to severe anxiety in employees. What can organizations do to combat this?

To begin with, they should make the mental wellbeing of employees a  priority. It is an organization’s responsibility to ensure its employees feel connected and supported during this global pandemic.

Here is a list of steps companies can take to help employees cope with isolation:

  1. Be As Transparent As Possible And Share Information

Dissemination of information is more crucial than ever before because of the uncertainty generated by the pandemic. Leaders need to focus on opening communication channels to regularly share information with employees. They should update employees through virtual meetings or other channels of communication.

  1. Leverage Digital Channels And Communication Platforms

Technology plays a crucial role in supporting remote work. Internal communications channels such as Microsoft Teams allow companies to stay organized and connected. A helpline or response system that allows employees to have all queries answered creates a robust employee support system.

  1. Gather Data on Employee Needs and Implement Policies Accordingly

Engage employees in dialogue and understand what they need to feel supported. Use one-on-one communication or organizational surveys to identify the emotional needs of employees and create policies to help them cope with isolation.

  1. Provide Special Support 

Providing employees with resources that will help them cope builds trust. Sometimes it isn’t easy for employees to ask for help. Remind and encourage employees to reach out. Leaders should consider impaneling specialists to help employees cope with uncertainty.

  1. Organize Regular Non-work Activities

Fun activities such as game nights are great stress busters for remote teams. They also create a sense of community and help employees stay calm and focused.

  1. Train Leaders to be More Empathetic

In high-stress situations, managers have to be empathetic to the needs of employees to maintain the emotional health and productivity of remote teams. They can use virtual training programs and regular team check-ins to assess the needs of their employees.

  1. Crowdsource Ideas and Set Goals as a Collective

With unemployment rising, employees are more invested now in the success of the organization they work for. This goes a long way in setting common goals. Empowering employees to be part of decision-making processes and crowdsourcing innovative ideas makes employees feel valued and connected to the company’s goals.

Employees are an organization’s greatest asset and that will never change. That is why a company must do everything in its power to protect its assets. By helping employees cope in a global crisis, an organization is setting itself up for success in the best possible way.

Tariq Hazarika is Manager, Operations at Harappa Education. He did a self-designed major in Anthropology, Journalism, and Gender and Women’s Studies, from Knox College in Illinois. He worked in AI research straight out of college and has been working with digital products ever since.

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