Top Tips to Support Your Socially Distanced Employees

BY Kathy Crosett
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While we’re hearing that the social distancing mandates may soon start to ease up, the truth is that employees may continue to work from home for a while longer. To support your socially distanced employees, it helps to know what they’re feeling and what they’re worried about. Appreciation at Work conducted a survey on this topic and their findings point to some interesting trends.

The Home Environment

The now popular video-​based meetings have shown us our team members’ home environment. Some employees have their hands full between managing young children and peppy pets. But for the most part, 58% of workers with children at home said they were managing their responsibilities quite well. However, over half of surveyed workers also said that feeling overloaded and not personally interacting with teammates were bigger sources of distraction. Managers: This is a call for you to support your socially distanced employees.


Your team members, if they’re like the workers in this survey, feel positive and determined. They believe they are in a temporary situation and will do what it takes to achieve the best possible outcome for society. They also enjoy the chance to spend more time with their families and less time commuting. 

The changes also come with some stress. The true impact of the virus is a big unknown and 55% of folks worry about that. Around 42% of consumers worry about the overall economy, whether or not they’ve been personally impacted because of a layoff or furlough. 

During any disaster, it’s human nature to gather as much information as possible. This tendency has driven 60% of consumers to binge watch the news on a regular basis. This constant flow of information, not all of it accurate, may be causing 42% of adults to worry that they or their family members will get sick. 

Support Your Socially Distanced Employees

It can be challenging for managers to keep employees motivated to complete a project when they’re worried about getting groceries delivered and keeping their kids safe. Stay in touch regularly with the folks who seem to be having the hardest time. Acknowledge their challenges. And work with them to implement a temporary schedule, if necessary. Maybe they can complete some tasks in the evening after the kids are in bed. Be flexible the timing of video chats, but make sure to schedule and have them. Some employees need more reassurance that they’re doing a good job. Don’t forget to praise them during a video one-​on-​one meeting. These reassurances can reduce stress.

To reinforce the bonds of teamwork, use office chat systems to celebrate employees who achieve a milestone, accomplish a difficult task or serve their community in a noble way. It’s important to recognize work successes during this time. If your team members are going to be isolated for another month or so, you can keep them energized and motivated by creating rewards for unusual categories, such as the person who starts work the earliest, and send them a fun gift like a puzzle to do with their kids.