How to keep your employees calm during coronavirus scare?
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Coronavirus or COVID-19 is more than a fear, it is a pandemic that is affecting people in almost all the countries in the world today. Businesses, particularly small businesses are facing the impact of the pandemic on their operations. However, in this crazy time, it is important that businesses pay due attention to their most valuable resource – their human resource.
As almost every country affected by the viral epidemic is going into lockdown, people are not only scared of their health, but are extremely insecure about their future and their jobs. As a small business owner, it is important that you take responsibility for keeping your employees calm and safe in addition to applying measures that will help your business fight the pandemic.
Here are some tips that will help you keep your employees calm during the coronavirus scare:
#1. Communicate proactively
As the current environment is riddled with discussions and news about the outbreak of COVID-19 virus, it is natural that the brain tends to fixate on it. Your employees, as they are locked down, are constantly thinking of the pandemic and its impact on the economy, on their health, and their future. Giving them a safe space to discuss their fears and insecurities can help them vent out and move on at least for a little while and focus on your work.
Additionally, you must have a strong communication plan to implement in the times of distress like now. Naturally, you would need to send the basic updates about the pandemic to ensure that they only get authentic information instead of depending on social media with dubious forwards. It is better to communicate too often than too less. This induces faith among the employees that you, as the owner and the entire organization as a whole is aware of all that’s going on.
Absence of communication can only induce more panic among your employees, making you appear ill informed or unprepared.
#2. Adopt balanced messaging
This may seem a little counterintuitive to the entire scenario, but even though we are talking about frequent communication to make sure that your employees are informed, try not to go overboard.
The idea is to keep your employees informed, but there is no point creating more panic! There, of course is a lot going on right now and adding to the fear will bear no fruit. It is important to keep the tone neutral, while conveying the seriousness of the issue, you must not raise alarm.
You can try and balance out the messaging about corona, by making sure that you add some positive stories as well.
#3. Help them focus on something productive
Your employees are at home, saving the time they were spending on the commute. This means you can plan a project or activity that they can focus on and help the company forward. This is bound to excite your employees as something positive and productive will get their creative juices flowing.
This could even be in the form of a virtual event, a contest, or a strong project which can even turn into an additional revenue stream!
#4. Keep them safe
Whether you are in a lockdown or not, make sure that you have processes in place that would help keep your employees safe. Dissipate information about the hygiene that needs to be practiced ensuring that the virus doesn’t spread, or that anyone in the office does not get infected by it.
If you still have workers coming in to the office, it is critical that cleaning procedures are in place and that all the surfaces are wiped down with disinfectants, and advise all the employees to wash their hands often, particularly after touching a surface, or before entering a room. One thing to remember is that if even one person is feeling unwell, immediately advise them to stay at home, without delay. It is critical that the spread of the virus is arrested.
#5. Add flexibility in policies
These are unpredictable times and the entire world is experiencing something unfamiliar. It is only natural that certain situations will come up that were not really accounted for, when you formulated the company policies.
Hence, this is not the time to be a stickler to the rules!
Accommodate as much as possible, when it comes to working arrangements. You can allow people to work form home as their children’s schools may be closed. If work from home is not possible, you can offer staggered timing or flexibility in work timings so that they can cope with work and any other unprecedented situation at home or even during their commute without much hassle.
#6. Limit travel
Take your meetings to one of the popular online platforms. Make use of video calls, video conferences, group chats, or build an enterprise app of your own for better communication both internal and outbound. Not only should you limit any future travel plans involving your employees but should consider canceling any prior travel plans.
Even if they are traveling to places that are not yet infected by the pandemic, it is not so great for the employee morale because of the perceived risks of traveling. In this digital age, it is possible to accomplish almost everything through powerful tools like apps that come laden with features like push notifications, group chats, video calls, video streaming, and more. Exploit them!
#7. Coordinate with health department
There is information everywhere, however the authenticity of the information is really important. Make sure that you are getting your information from the right sources. The information you are getting may be true but may not apply to the region you are in, or there may be other variables at play. Hence, it is important that you stay in touch with officials from the state health department to stay updated of the right guidelines.
COVID-19 or Coronavirus is a virus that spreads through contact; hence it is not spreading uniformly. It is important that you keep the local stats in mind before taking any decisions. Be informed and consume information from the right sources. This way rumors wouldn’t do rounds, at least not in your organization.
#8. Educate the employees
People who are aware have a greater chance of staying protected. Take it as your responsibility to educate your employees about hygiene, best practices, and social distancing. Educate your employees about the guidelines released by reputable authorities like WHO and AMA.
Agreed, remote working or working from home is the best possible solution to fight the deadly pandemic. However, in case your business cannot work with these options, organize training sessions with the experts who can help the employees understand the best practices and the hygiene that they must maintain, in order to stay safe and protect others from COVID-19.
These are tough times and it is only natural that everywhere, everyone is panicking. The panic may stem from misinformation, lack of information, or gaps in communication. It is your responsibility as an organization and employer that your employees are offered the right information, in the best possible way, without raising any unnecessary alarm.
One of the best ways to make sure that your employees stay calm is by ensuring perfect communication. Appy Pie is here to help! You can create your own app without any coding in minutes and get your communication game sorted!