In addition to combating the physical aspects of COVID-19, many employers also find themselves contending with the emotional repercussions of the pandemic. Many employees are dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression as they try to balance new realities at work and at home. 

For businesses to succeed at this time, it is more important than ever to place a focus on employee well-being. This means helping employees navigate the psychological upheaval they may experience. Here are five ways employers can promote wellness while motivating their staff during the current crisis. 

Model Calm

Though always needed, a leader is especially critical during a disaster. Regardless of how a boss may feel at this time, employees need someone to look to for reassurance. A motivating employer will remain calm, communicating a clear plan for forwarding momentum, even as they acknowledge changes to business as usual.

Make Safety a Priority

It’s hard for people to feel confident when they don’t feel safe. Employers need to ensure that not only are work venues in compliance with state and federal guidelines but that they broadcast value for employee health. 

If a business is still operating on-site, this means prominently placing hand sanitizer, soap, gloves, and masks for staff use. Businesses operating both in person or remotely should publically discuss company health policies as well, highlighting any changed plans for employees affected by COVID-19. 

Pay Attention

Once again, a best practice always, but critical to morale at this time. Paying attention to employee concerns can help businesses react to challenges before they escalate. For many employees, just being able to relieve tensions through dialogue is a gift that allows them to dive right back to work. 

For others, listening will raise critical needs that employers can address through flexible arrangements. An overwhelmed parent may need to shift their hours so they can better provide child-care during school shutdowns. A worker caring for a sick relative may need to operate remotely for some time. Empathetic, compassionate listening allows for the kind of safe sharing required to maintain a positive work environment right now. 

Reorient Activities 

Another strategy is to reorient activities. As many are discovering, not all tasks easily done at a desk in an office translate smoothly to a desk at home. It can be demoralizing to staff to attempt to do work they’ve always done effortlessly in an environment that actively works against them.

For this reason, it may be wise to temporarily reorient the docket, assigning tasks that can be done out of order, or with a more relaxed timeframe. Take the opportunity to have workers go through their files, clean their desktops or emails, along with other spring cleaning tasks. This move will allow employees to feel and be productive despite the challenging times and positions the company to start on the right foot when restrictions lift.

Invest in Development

Finally, now is the perfect time to invest in professional and business development. Providing professional development opportunities for staff reminds them that there will be a future for them, the company, and the world at large, while also giving them the tools to work with renewed passion and confidence. 

The same is true for business development. Open discussions with staff regarding changes that could enhance overall company management and dealings, and Acknowledge and implement creative ideas and solutions. Taken together with the other strategies outlined here, and businesses can see motivation grow, helping them emerge from COVID-19 as more durable, successful companies.


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