COVID-19: Managing The Impact On Our Team, Our Work, And Self
It is essential that we take the right precaution, ensure people’s safety over all else and work to build an environment that fosters trust.
This is a strange time in the world as we carefully, cautiously and collectively navigate a pandemic, COVID-19, of great proportion and scale. If the start to 2020 hasn’t already been reasonably tumultuous, the unprecedented spread of the virus has governments, researchers and medical experts scrambling trying to find immediate solutions to manage unknown problems. The hourly news update that pings on our phones are throwing everyone into a frenzy, with the only advisory given to stay put, stay away and wash our hands!
In this shifting world, where humanity is challenged and feels fragile, how do we lead teams, manage the business and prepare ourselves to fight the economic battle that lies ahead? If the market movements off late, the oil-driven frenzy, liquidity challenges, surge of large-scale frauds, climate change disruptions and other world events haven’t already been a big hit to the economic and business sentiment, what will the impact of a virus of this magnitude be to our local and global economy?
In my work as a leadership and performance coach, I see a number of corporate leaders trying to get their grip on the new reality, stay afloat and just move forward as best they can, given the circumstances. As a small business owner, I read reports on the impact of the virus on businesses such as mine and even those significantly larger, such as the airline industry, which no doubt brings an element of concern.
So, amidst the turmoil, as a business owner/leader/executive/manager, how do we motivate ourselves and others to ride yet another tide this 2020?
Protect Your People: In difficult times people need leadership more than anything else and not just from the top. Each one of us in an organization is equally responsible to do our best to protect teams, our clients and our organization at large. It is essential that we take the right precaution, ensure people’s safety over all else and work to build an environment that fosters trust. Empathy and people centricity exhibited today will only serve to build loyalty, positivity and success in the long-run. So, don’t be shortsighted in your approach, think long-term and safe. People are, after all, our biggest assets!
Get Zoom-Friendly: Re-think your business approach to assess how much of the work can be done using live platforms, video conferencing, productivity apps, collaboration tools and more. Make Zoom/WebX/Skype/Google Hangouts your new office and start educating your teams on how they can make the best use of technology as they work from home. Support them with improving data connectivity at home and be flexible in your policies when it comes to providing devices/computers/laptops etc. A tech-driven mindset will ensure business consistency, provide momentum and bring confidence to your organization and leadership.
Stay Connected and Communicate: Working from home does not mean that you need to be isolated from your team, bosses, clients, friends or colleagues. In this uncertain and evolving world, remember it’s our relationships that hold us through. Make sure you set some time to have those coffee conversations, take that e-lunch break and interact. As a leader, remember communication is key during uncertainty- so keep at it!
Encourage Work Routines: With so much going on by way of updates on the COVID-19 situation, social messaging and social media, maintaining a focus on work is itself a challenge. Studies have shown that people at work are distracted every 11 minutes, which increases as they work from home. To ensure higher productivity during this time period, make sure you and your teams operate on a manageable and specific work schedule. Also, prioritize and make sure that people are only working on things that are important at this time. You can always pick up the other tasks when we are back to business as usual.
Collectively Suffer a Little: In difficult times such as these, if we all pledge to collectively suffer a little so that nobody suffers a lot, we will pull through this faster and together. The socially conscious recommendation of staying home, being cautious, sanitary and safe is itself a test in collectively isolating to benefit all of us at large. If you find your business going through a difficult time at the moment, gather your teams and have them work on solutions that can help get all of you through this crunch time. Remember, nobody wants to lose a job in this economic environment. So, keep the self-serving behavior aside, leave that extra toilet paper roll on the aisle, support each other, donate to those less fortunate and do some collective good while you can!
Be Grateful: If you are reading this piece, you already have a lot to be thankful for. Think of those poor daily wage laborers who get impacted during lockdowns like these, or families who haven’t been so fortunate as to escape the plight of the virus. Acknowledge all that you have, the relationships that keep you strong and the organization that provides support during this time. Keeping a mindset of positivity, hope and growth will enable you to use this period of self-isolation more productively for your own and your organization’s long-term success.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house