The Covid-19 pandemic has separated tens of millions of people from their typical workplace environments. Unable to go to the office to counteract and reduce the spread of the virus, teams have begun working from home, while many organizations discovered the benefits of remote work.
However, although remote work can improve efficiency and productivity, this new flexibility has its challenges too.
At-risk employees who cannot visit the office as often as they once did might feel isolated, restricted, and unhappy at home. It’s the job of today’s business leaders and supervisors to ensure that these team members get the support they need.
Here’s how you can get started.
#1 Provide Emotional Support to At-Risk Employees During the Pandemic
People are in a difficult emotional state right now. We are all worried about friends and loved ones, how the world is changing, and more.
With such a massive hit to the economy, some people are even concerned they may end up losing their jobs entirely.
If you want your employees to be as productive as possible, you need to create a sense of stability.
Start by making sure that your team members always have someone to talk to if they’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Numbers to local therapy groups might be a good start. However, it’s also important to make sure that the supervisors are open to talk when people need assistance too. Everyone can help provide support to at-risk employees during the pandemic.
Additionally, look into providing guidance on how team members can handle emotional issues.
For instance, you could direct them to apps for guided meditation or blogs on how to relax. There are even videos out there that can help people to deal with panic.
#2 Make Them Feel Special
It’s often difficult enough in an office environment to make your employees feel like they’re “part of the team.” Creating that sense of community when people are working remotely can be even more challenging.
Right now, it’s important to show your people that the leadership cares about them and values them.
You can improve the sense of “community” in your business landscape. Praise team members and show appreciation for their work.
A “well done” sent in a group chat is a great way to get started. Another option is to set a care package full of company merch to remind your colleagues that they’re an important part of the team.
Rewards for excellent accomplishments are helpful, too – even if they just come in the form of an extra hour off on a particular day or a celebration in a video call. Find out what makes your team feel good, and double down on that.
#3 Pay for Their Internet
In this difficult time, many people are concerned about making ends meet.
Save your employees from worrying about the additional cost of getting a high-quality connection by giving them a monthly allowance for their Internet and technology expenses.
This will stop your team members from feeling overwhelmed by stress every time they get an email or letter from their Internet provider.
You could even go the extra mile and pay for your employees to have a better mobile Internet connection too. They may on occasion need to connect to a meeting via tphone or tablet instead of a laptop or computer.
#4 Provide the Right Equipment
Ensuring that your team members have access to the right Internet connectivity is just the first step of giving them everything they need to be productive.
Once you’ve ascertained that connections are up to date for all of your employees, it’s worth checking whether they need any additional hardware or software to empower their work too.
Some team members won’t have the same quality of equipment readily available at home as they would in the office environment. This could mean that you need to issue company tablets, laptops, computers, and other essential devices to everyone who continues to work from home.
Since these investments can make a big dent in your company budget, it’s important to keep track of them after you issue each item to an employee.
Keeping a record of your company assets and their usage will help you to make sure that your devices remain safe. They also help you to see how often your employees are using the tools they need for work.
You may even find that you have some extra chairs or specialized equipment that could help employees create a comfortable home office until it’s safe for them to rejoin you in the office.
After all, with the right approach, your team will leverage that equipment even after the current crisis is over.
These small actions can go a long way towards supporting at-risk employees during the pandemic.
#5 Stay up to Date
Finally, knowledge is power in most circumstances. That’s definitely the case when it comes to supporting at-risk employees duiring the pandemic.
Make sure that you know the latest guidelines and requirements in your business sector. That will help you anticipate any questions or concerns your employees might have so that you can put their minds at ease.
You need a good lay of the land regarding everything that’s currently happening with your business. Only then can you make sure that everyone in your team is up to date.
Transparency is also important.
You may not know what’s going to happen with remote working and hybrid office hours going forward. Let your people know that you’re doing your best to get more information.
The last thing you should do is leave your employees fumbling in the dark. You don’t want them to feel like you’re keeping secrets from them.
Protect and Support At-Risk Employees During the Pandemic
Your employees are still the most valuable asset your business has. Looking after the mental and physical wellbeing of your people is crucial to ensuring ongoing productivity and efficiency.
Employees who are at higher risk need to know that you understand and respect their concerns. They may need to work from home for an extended time.
Fortunately, we have tools that can make that transition easier. The new work arrangement can be as productive as if they were with you in the office.
Don’t forget to listen to your employees, too; their feedback can give you a good idea of which direction to go in next.
About the Author
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor, and a thriving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.