Caring for Employees During COVID

Times are tough for the world and it’s critical to be looking out for your employees during COVID. You should *want* to care for your employees, but even if you don’t there are tons of studies that show happier employees work better/more/faster/etc.

Most companies are facing new experiences with all-remote work (it’s not easy!) so I came up with a few tips about how to nurture your employees from a distance during a pandemic.

  1. Be explicit about expectations – WRITE IT DOWN AND SHARE, WORD OF MOUTH IS NOT ENOUGH. Especially in newly remote situations, tell your employees what you expect of them, do not assume people just know. Also, saying ‘we’re flexible’ isn’t enough detail. This should cover:
    • Child care
    • Meetings
    • Work Hours
    • Mental Health
  2. Be hyper aware of triggers, racism and exclusion happening on Slack – Although this should be done all the time, during political and world turmoil people say ignorant things (often without thinking) and it is your job to protect your employees. I encourage companies to make an announcement about it being everyone’s job to protect each other by raising your hand to HR/leadership/someone you trust when you see something that doesn’t sit well with you. It is critical not to sweep things under the rug. Depending on the statement and reach it is important to acknowledge and educate (this can easily be done without throwing someone under the bus).
  3. Check-ins – Talk to your employees in a way that works for them. Not everyone wants to get in their feels with their boss (and that’s totally fine; do not force it!!). I’ve found a few different ways that seem to work for folks.
    • Conversational check in – the ‘regular’ way (can be done on zoom or slack)
    • Numbers – giving folks a range of numbers and ask where they are at
    • Emojis – sometimes I’ll do this in a group. What emoji best describes you today?
    • Stop light – what color are you today?
  4. Find ways to stop talking about COVID – give people a breather! Try talking about literally anything else for a minute. Basically, just a fun way to be interactive on slack. Examples:
    • Playlist recommendations
    • #mugshots – people send pics of the mugs they are using that morning
    • Trivia
    • Gifs – sharing your favorite gif and/or give a gif category and ask for shares (ie Judge Judy gif day!)

Most importantly, be kind to each other.

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