An appeal to managers to communicate more intensively with their employees in LockDown HomeOffice right now.
In most parts of our planet, the Covid-19 pandemic still has a firm grip on the business world. Each of us is experiencing this time in our own unique way. There are companies whose business is booming, while others are experiencing a financial fiasco and hoping to survive with government support programs. For some of us, the pandemic means additional stress, like homeschooling while generating back problems even with a laptop at the dining room table. Others experience the current time as a welcome deceleration. Yes, there really is. The Covid-19 pandemic has many different facets.
What is the mood like?
How are your employees doing in the HomeOffice Lockdown? How often do you talk to them on the phone or video conference? And do you ever ask them how they're coping? What they do on the weekends? Are their children at home? Maybe you are in the home office yourself, while a few of your employees are the "last man standing" in the company and have to keep things running. What is the mood like among them?
Something is happening
I notice that the longer the lockdown phase, the more differently employees cope with the stress. There are people in the team who really enjoy working from home. While for others, the energy level is visibly dropping and nerves are beginning to fray. Last week I had to watch a situation escalate, and highly emotional emails with half-truths circulated. For me, this was a warning signal: something is happening. Working from home leaves its marks, and we as leaders need to be mindful of the state of mind of our employees.
Mastering as best as we can
Many people gain energy from working directly with people. This is nothing new. Especially those of us for whom relationships with colleagues are very important, who feel a lot of empathy for other people, or those who are very creative in interacting with others: they all suffer especially from the seemingly endless LockDown HomeOffice, according to my perception. Well, it will certainly be a while before we get back to our offices on a large scale. So it's still a matter of mastering this time as best we can until the vaccination campaigns start to show results.
It is those little things ...
My request to all of you who currently have employees and colleagues in the HomeOffice: communicate more intensively right now than you normally do. Be visible. Call from time to time without demanding a specific business topic. Just to talk. Turn on your camera when you do so, if possible. Show interest in the lives and well-being of your associates and colleagues, and try to replace a little of the energizers we usually experience while physically together in the office: the informal conversation in the kitchenette, the colleague's grin, the bitter comment in the meeting, or even just the appreciative handshake from colleagues or the boss in the morning. There are many little things we miss. It is those little things that we lack to recharge our batteries.
In the current situation, leadership does not only mean setting goals and making decisions. It also means being a source of energy, inspiration, and hope. By ... talking. Talking is gold in the current situation. Let us pay special attention to this in the coming weeks.
Will you join in?