How to Address Leadership Challenges During COVID-19

April 13, 2020
Inspire Human Resources shares tips for dealing with challenges during the coronavirus outbreak, including how to avoid employee burnout by allowing staff members more time during the day to tend to their family when necessary.

April 13, 2020—Inspire Human Resources shares tips to handling three top challenges that leaders are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Employee Burnout. For many, there used to be a clear signal that the work day began and ended. Now, there is no closing time. 

  1. Be proactive in spotting and addressing employee burnout. People are worried about job security while adapting to unfamiliar work situations. Rather than expecting someone to come to you with a concern about falling behind on their work, or having to work late at night, watch for signals that something seems off. 
  2. Encourage flow states. If you’re asking your employees to be “on” during all working hours, then you’re really asking for just a portion of their attention. Instead, encourage your team to find times where they can dedicate their energy to work, while recognizing there will be times when they are not available.
  3. Set clear expectations. We aren’t living in a 9-to-5 world right now. If your team members are accustomed to the value they provide equaling the amount of time they spend at work, you must make it clear that their true value comes from their contributions. 

Balancing the personal and professional sides of employee relationships. For managers who are used to formal relationships with their employees, this gray area can be uncomfortable to navigate.

  1. Start fresh. Get your team’s feedback on technology, communication channels, meeting frequency and design, and all of the other changes you’ve had to implement over the past few weeks.
  2. Adjust expectations.​​​​​​​ Ask open-ended questions like "What aspects of your work are more difficult to complete from home than in the office?" or "Are there times during the day when you prefer to concentrate on work?"
  3. Gather employee feedback. Ask your team to rate how the company is responding to the COVID-19 crisis. 

Employee Isolation. While your team members deemed non-essential are maintaining their physical distance, you can help strengthen social ties to limit the feelings of isolation.

  1. Conduct daily video or phone check-ins. Many high performing companies were already holding daily “stand-ups” where the team discusses their work for the day and offers solutions for anticipated issues.
  2. Bring the whole team together (virtually) on a regular basis.​​​​​​​ If you used to hold monthly staff meetings, consider increasing the frequency, or adding some agenda-less bonding, support, and strategy sessions.
  3. Provide space for socialization.​​​​​​​ At Inspire, they  have launched weekly voluntary social hours on Fridays. They lead with Silver Linings—encouraging news that anyone would like to share—then  listen to each other.

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