These days, everyone is doing their best to navigate these new circumstances brought on by COVID-19. There is much uncertainty regarding when the economy will officially reopen and how the government will continue to manage this public health crisis. You, as a business owner, may feel that you do not have much control over what is happening. This feeling is entirely understandable, as there is a lot that is out of your hands.
Fortunately, when it comes to managing stress and helping your employees navigate these times, there are some things you can do to reduce anxiousness among yourself and your teams. So, if stress is mounting, here are some ways you can help yourself and your staff navigate the feelings of uncertainty brought on by COVID-19.
Be Honest with Your Employees
Regardless of where you are right now, be honest with your staff, and communicate as much as possible. For example, if you are in the tough position of having to close your doors, let employees know where they stand. Are they being furloughed or laid off? Are there opportunities to work from home? Be as transparent as you can and communicate what you know. Being clear with employees can help them take the next steps they need—whether they need to find a temporary position in the interim or look for another permanent job altogether.
Provide As Many Resources As You Can
Unfortunately, many of today’s professionals are worrying about how they can handle necessary expenses like food, utilities, rent, and mortgages. A great way you can ease the stress of your team is by pointing them toward helpful information. Creating a collection of resources can help them—and yourself—know where to go to meet basic needs.
Include information about the nearest food pantries, local GoFundMe campaigns they may be able to benefit from, contact information for the state Department of Labor, and nonprofit organizations that can help with bill payments like The Salvation Army. Also, remind your employees to check in with lenders to see if they can defer mortgage and car payments.
Remind Remote Workers to Take a Break and Avoid Burnout
If your team is working from home, they are at a higher risk of experiencing isolation and burnout. So, be sure to set clear boundaries regarding work hours. Set standard end times, and encourage employees not to answer— or send—work emails past a specific time.
You want them to be at their best, and burnout and fatigue can lead to increased stress. Also, this is a time when individuals have to handle the additional tasks of homeschooling as well as caring for family members that may be staying with them. As a result, it is crucial that you make sure they have the time to handle these matters.
Give Yourself Time to Breathe
A lot is happening, with new developments occurring as this article is being written. As a business owner, it is okay to take some time to ground yourself and figure out your next move. Whether this includes taking a rest day to do something that calms you, taking up yoga, or spending time with those in your home, it’s crucial that you practice self-care.
The calmer you are, the easier it will be to make the best decisions for your staff. Also, if you are still managing employees, be sure to model this behavior, so they see it as something they too should make a priority.
Find or Create a Community
It’s easier to handle tough situations when you aren’t alone. Currently, many business owners are facing this same situation. So, see if any entrepreneurs or business owners are meeting up on places like Zoom, Slack, or even on social media platforms like Twitter.
Connecting with others is a great way to know you aren’t alone, while also learning about more resources that can help yourself as well as your employees. Alternatively, if you want to stay in touch with employees, and create a space for your team to connect, develop a virtual group meetup for your employees to check in with one another.
Connect Your Team with Mental Health Services
There is nothing wrong with reaching out for professional help if you—or your staff—are having a challenging time managing stress. Many healthcare providers are offering telehealth services that include virtual appointments with mental health professionals.
See what your healthcare insurance company is offering for yourself and your staff. If you cannot provide health insurance resources at this time to your team, encourage them to check out organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Health and Open Path for more information on affordable mental health resources.
Adjust Your Expectations
If you are still operating at this time, make it known to your employees that their mental and physical health, as well as their safety, is the highest priority. Acknowledge that you will adjust goals or expectations to allow for an environment that enables workers to either lighten their workload, take more time to be with their families, or work at a pace that is more comfortable during this time.
You may not hit all of your first or second quarter goals and may have to adjust your expectations regarding revenue, but ultimately, it is best to ensure your team has a less stressful work environment. So, don’t be afraid to adjust your benchmarks appropriately.
Stress Management is Essential for This Season
Managing stress during this time is crucial for you and your team. When stress and anxiety are not driving the decision-making, you are better positioned to make clear and well-thought-out choices for the future of your business. COVID-19 is a temporary situation, and creating a plan to handle anxiousness and stress will help you to develop the strategies you need to get through it and thrive once it’s over.
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