We never thought we would see such days, but here we are, amidst COVID-19 crisis, navigating through
an unfamiliar & unchartered territory. With offices still being closed, our homes are no longer just living
places, where we come back from work to unwind & relax with our families, children and pets. Our
homes are now evolving & transforming into schools for our children & more importantly, into our Full
The New work norm calls for intertwining of our personal and professional spaces, which most of us
prefer to keep separate. Individuals now have to work remotely, from their homes, confined to a limited
space and with limited interaction with people. Coupled with fear and uncertainty of times, this can be
challenging for most of us and can trigger feelings of isolation, anxiousness and stress. This is impacting
the mental health of people in the workforce.
Maintaining the Mental Health & Safety of Employees & Workforce, thus becomes, a crucial focus for
businesses in their response to this crisis.
Businesses and Leaders need to understand and acknowledge this change in work environment of the
employees and how it is impacting them and their work. Leaders play a critical role in all of this and they
are crucial to creating a healthy workplace for all. They are the ones that supervise, guide, support and
influence the workforce.
So here are a few tips for Leaders and Managers, to ensure a healthy workforce and help them keep
their staff and teams, sane during these testing times –
- Be Patient, Accommodative and Flexible. Everyone has different home environments and coping
mechanisms, and most are handling changes creating from work from home demands. A few
team members may take more time, than others, to adjust to this environment. It’s important
to understand everyone’s situation and give them space to get accustomed to new routines.
Acknowledge the human side of you and create a psychologically safe work environment for
- Talk about Mental health openly and encourage others to do the same. Create prospects for
connections among team members, to help them stay engaged in these new settings, and
display compassion and support to your team. Direct them to helplines or counselling if
- Communicate and Interact with your Team regularly. As humans, we desire social interaction.
Momentous interactions help us feel valued, positive, energetic and give us a sense of support.
- Connect with Team members, individually and collectively, more often than you may have done
in your normal office setting. A daily touchpoint call, video calls, weekly connects, will keep
them motivated and will foster a sense of routine for them.
- Keep a few extra minutes in every call to connect with everyone on a personal level and ask
them, how they are doing, how they are adapting to this new work environment & listen to each
one’s response. This is a great conversation starter during group connects. Pay attention to their
tones, and if the call is a video conference, pay attention to their body language. This will help
you identify those that are struggling to cope up with the current changes.
- Use more of Video Communication. It is more effective. Use it to relay information & ensure
that it is being understood. Also, sometimes body language speaks louder than words and not all
team members are comfortable to interrupt their managers on calls.
- Keep workflow transparent and easy to follow. Give definite clear work expectations, including
how and when to communicate, expected response times, project leads and due dates, on calls
or in virtual meetings. These are more effective than writing long emails for information
dissemination during these times. You want to avoid causing any panic and confusion within the
team on work.
- Call unannounced or give a little nudge to a person if they’ve gone silent. In an office setting we
don’t really always wait for a meeting invite, to go and talk to a person, and the same can be
done from home. Few unannounced calls and nudges, can help keep tabs on people, reduce
their stress and help foster that personal connection between the team.
- Keep your team Aware, Engaged and Committed. Help them see the bigger picture and the
mission of the organization.
- Regularly monitor the health of the workforce and keep a Pulse check on them. Collect
employee feedback on how and what to improve or the challenges they are facing and try to act
on them, to the best you can.
In times of crisis, it’s important for Leaders to uphold the company’s cultural values and transfer them
into positive work strategies that will foster trust and commitment with employees. This will help create
a healthy workforce, ready to adapt and deal with future work changes, and one which will contribute to
long term business success