Last March, I would have predicted that employees would all be at work by now. But the Coronavirus didn’t care about my thinking.
As employees continue to work from home, there are things leaders can do to keep their staff motivated.
- Make sure your team is maintaining healthy habits. You’ve heard about the “COVID-15,” referencing the extra weight people have gained. Instead of moving from Zoom call to the couch, suggest people take a midday walk. We all have more energy if we exercise, eat well, and enjoy balance in our lives.
- Leaders should review work goals with their workers. The projects you wanted to work on may need to be revised now that quarantines are going on longer than we thought they might. Are your workers focusing on things that really must get done now?
- Leaders must show compassion and go the extra mile to connect with at-home workers. Gallup research on remote working shows that 43% of U.S. employees work off-site at least part of the time, and those who work all the time remotely can have lower engagement and feel disconnected from their teams.
- Be honest, and keep communicating with your team. Employees will have questions about everything about possible layoffs to the plan for returning to the office. Share what you can and admit when you don’t have an answer to their question. I used to tell my staff that I would tell them when they should worry, but until I did, they should not invent doomsday scenarios. Of course, I could only honor that statement if I was prepared to be honest about challenges.
During the early days of COVID, people thought that working from home might be fun. But now it has lost its luster for most, as people miss their colleagues and have to deal with family issues and complications like children being expected to attend school from home. It’s times like this when people depend on their leaders, and leaders need to behave accordingly.