It’s not hyperbole to say the world has changed significantly since my last manager’s memo to you in March. More than ever, you must focus on being a compassionate leader. A lot of us are working from home now, and for some, that might be a first-time experience. It can, and probably will, present you and your team with hurdles, but it’s not an insurmountable situation.
Several years ago, I was employed by a company based out of Seattle where I went from commuting to an office every day to working from home for the first time. This was a big adjustment. Unlike many current employees finding themselves in this situation, I was new to the company, which made the transition even more difficult. I had to figure out how to set up a home office so I could manage my day efficiently and learn to accept that just because my manager couldn’t see me, it didn’t mean he thought I wasn’t working.
You have to consider that many on your team are figuring this out on the fly. So, it’s important now more than ever to have compassion. You may think, at times, that this is an ideal situation for your employees, but in truth, many of them may be experiencing anxiety for a variety of reasons.
Some just may not be used to working from home. Some may have to start playing the role of homeschool parent. Some may be dealing with depression from the forced isolation. As their leader, there’s a lot you need to take into consideration when approaching them.
While you may have concerns about whether or not your employees are working, it’s essential that you’re not projecting those feelings on them. Here are some tricks I’ve started doing to help curb my team’s anxiety:
- Have more team and one-on-one calls using video chat.
- Have fun with these calls! Have a virtual happy hour. Have themes for your calls. Come to the meeting dressed up as a character. Don’t let the virtual aspect of the call take away from the rapport you had in person at the office.
- Talk about some of the fun new things people are doing with their families to get creative in this time.
The key right now is to keep morale high. We know these are unprecedented times, but we also know that they’ll pass. Becoming a compassionate leader will help. The more we stay engaged with our team while we’re apart, the stronger we’ll be when we all get back together. Stay safe, everyone!