Winter is Upon Us – What’s Next?

In an increasingly nerve-wracking world, communication will reduce fears and increase morale.

I’m writing to you deep into a global pandemic, facing down an important election, with a five-year old in the room next door in virtual Kindergarten. I think I made the right decision to put my other kid in daycare. I still need to buy Halloween candy. There is a lot going on.

Americans today are uncertain about the world around them. Easy decisions are now complicated. Can employers provide a proverbial shoulder to lean on, even when remote? Absolutely. Let’s look at a couple of common ways to provide stability to your team as we enter what some are calling the darkest period of the pandemic:

COMMUNICATE about your (financial) health

How is the company doing? Has COVID-19 harmed your bottom line, or are you doing better than ever? A persistent fear of unemployment, even one that proves baseless, affects mental health. Now more than ever, it is helpful to give at least a snapshot of the economic realities facing your company in late 2020.

COMMUNICATE about your timing

When are we going back to the office? If you haven’t heard that question, your employees are repeating it to themselves. While nobody should have plans in 2020, remember that your employees may have plans to not do certain things. Those include, depending on their risk tolerance:

  • Take public transportation
  • Ride an elevator
  • Talk to someone from six feet away
  • See other people

Good communication will also help those with homeschool responsibilities and elder care as they consider how to rearrange their new routine. If you are based in a city or state urging employees to work from home, expect resistance from employees for health and safety reasons. Review EEOC guidance and applicable COVID-19 related ordinances, and develop a plan to review requests for reasonable accommodations in a fair, nondiscriminatory way.

COMMUNICATE your appreciation

This goes without saying, but COVID-19 did not end the need for feedback. In fact, a remote environment requires even more back-and-forth on needs, wants, and outcomes. When somebody on your team does a task well, thank them. Picking up the phone makes a difference. Did they screen your happy call? They might be anxious – half the calls they receive today are asking for political donations. Leave a nice voicemail.

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