Work Life Balance in the Time of Covid
As we keep hearing ad nauseum in ads these days, we are in uncertain and definitely uncharted times. It is now several weeks since Canada went into shutdown mode and people are getting used to their new way of life/work at home. Or are they…?
Many employers are grappling with how to keep employees engaged and tuned-in during their confinement at home. Employees are having to adjust to self-motivation and often crowded workspaces that they are sharing with spouses and children. For many businesses there has also been a sharp decline in work coming in so keeping employees busy from afar is also a challenge. Not only do employers have to work around their usual way of doing things, but they are now also having to be mindful of employees’ mental health during this crisis.
The time for flexibility and open communication between employers and employees has come and it is integral to keeping your team healthy and intact. Once you have established that your employees are all safe and healthy you can concentrate on their productivity. But how to do this?
At Letter M, we have learned that daily communication is key. Employers need to let their employees know that they are released from the usual rules and regulations regarding the workday. Zoom, Microsoft Teams or other virtual meetings allow employees to see each other, reconnect and catch up on how their lives are going. The conversations don’t all have to be work related – in fact, we spend little time on actual project updates. Sometimes Zoom can serve as the office water cooler where people can just get together to chat and support one another.
As employers, it’s our opportunity to:
Tell them it is ok to integrate their kids’ school time with their own work time.
Tell them it is ok to take an afternoon off to go for a walk and/or play with their kids.
Tell them it is ok if they can’t fill a 7-hour day with work.
Tell them about the financial relief packages you are applying for/have been approved for.
Tell them it is ok to feel overwhelmed by all that is happening in their world right now.
Remind them of the EAP package that comes with their benefits plan if you have one.
Check in with them individually to make sure they and their family aren’t in need of anything.
Undoubtedly, we are being tested on many levels right now. As employers, openness, honesty and kindness are the most important leadership tools we possess. Let’s use them freely!