During the past few months, your team has been through an extraordinary amount of change. Not only have they been juggling remote working with home quarantine life, but the work they usually do has likely transformed too. This is a time for adjustment and opening our minds to how the world might look from here on in.
As we tentatively begin to emerge from lockdown, it’s imperative that we do all we can to empower our colleagues to continue the collective healing we are all working through. Yes, we have been shaken. We can all agree that businesses have been drastically challenged. Of course, there have been personal loss beyond true measure.
But this too shall pass – and as it does, we need to pull together in powerful new ways.
Five steps to power up the process of overcoming beyond lockdown:
- Recognise the situation for what it is. We cannot – and should not – ignore the events of late. If you try to do so, you will only end up frustrated. Ensure your approach isn’t tone deaf by staying open minded to how your colleagues might be feeling right now, and what they might be going through beyond your immediate knowledge. It’s important to validate the feelings and experiences of your team at this point of events. Remain mindful of what is appropriate right now. Focus on the positive, but don’t negate the enormity of was has been happening. Open communication is key and should be encouraged not only temporarily, but as a continual future practice within your company.
- Create healthy spaces for colleagues to communicate. Some colleagues may have been personally affected by losses in the family as a result of the virus. Many more have likely battled relationship challenges, financial difficulties, and personal trauma of varying kinds. Ensure that your human resources team are up to speed on how to support those who might be struggling. Creating opportunity for counselling could be beneficial. Where possible create formal channels to encourage your team to seek professional help and make sure you cover the expenses. If you already offer internal coaching or mentoring schemes, make sure that colleague ensures they check in on their designated mentoring/coaching partner regularly in the working week. Doing so will allow space for each person to offload without fear of judgement. It could help bring your team together in innovative and empowered ways you hadn’t considered.
- Resist the temptation to rush. We are all feeling frustrated at not being able to work as we normally do. Many of us have felt cooped up at home and we are raring to get going again. But running forwards in a fire-fighter mindset won’t help matters. You will only make rash decisions that lead to further delay or financial loss. Take time to consider that is best for your company on an ongoing basis from here, loosening your grip on your concept of how things “should” be. You might be surprised what new ideas could develop from doing so.
- Keep staff informed as the situation progresses. Currently, the national and global circumstances are constantly changing and developing. Equip your team with the tools they will need going forwards from this point in time. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is releasing detailed updates regularly which you can use to educate your staff on upcoming plans of action and best practices in terms of hygiene and safety. Ensure you use the appropriate information that is available to you. Using good quality sources and communicating relevant information to your team will reassure your colleagues enormously as they return to their roles.
- Make allowances for one another. This step is probably the most important of all, so pay close attention here. Is your secretary usually much more conscientious, but you are noticing that they are now a little scattered? Or are you finding that those Zoom meetings are a little less productive than they once were? Be patient. We have all been through an ordeal recently and none of us are quite feeling ourselves. Encourage one another as you venture forwards together, letting go of small annoyances that aren’t beneficial to address. Reiterate the company ethos and remind your team how valuable they really are. Doing so will be much more effective than focusing on fleeting failures.
Embrace the five powerful steps
Unaddressed trauma can be highly debilitating in the short and long term. This applies both personally and in the context of business. Without tending properly to a wound, it will only be more painful and take much longer to heal than necessary. By embracing these five powerful steps, you will be harnessing the power of personal care to power up your professional staff team as you emerge from these difficult events and eventually move on from them. The fact that you are here reading this article demonstrates that you genuinely care about your team. You came here to find new ways to take care of the team and the business you care about most. This, above all, is the most important element of all in your overcoming toolkit. This alone is your foundation to build from. It might seem as if you’ll be in a state of professional recovery from the personal implications of the virus forever. But don’t lose hope. You have got this far, and you shall continue. From here, take the necessary steps listed in this article, taking your time as you do so.
You are already doing your best – now take this guide toolkit, and level up!
Your team will be so glad you did – as will you.
Linked to the following Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs):
- Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
- Sustainable Development Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
- Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
- Sustainable Development Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
- Sustainable Development Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels