How to look after remote teams during Covid-19

07 April 2020 3 min. read
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With the continuous spread of Covid-19, governments across the globe have continued to urge social distancing, self-isolation and working from home where possible, in a bid to help slow the rate of infection from coronavirus, and ultimately save lives.

However, in this ‘new norm’, and in a much different working environment, many UK workers can find it challenging to maintain 'business as usual’ while keeping a good work-life balance as well as positive mental health and wellbeing. Matthew Dickason, Global Managing Director at human capital specialist Hays, discusses key steps businesses can take to help make life easier for their team in times of crisis.

One source of truth

Being mindful about showing support for staff is crucial in a constantly changing environment, particularly as uncertainty can increase mental stress. At present, there is no doubt increased anxiety about the future, in terms of both personal- and work-life.

How to look after remote teams during Covid-19

While there will be many things that can cause anxiety as events continue to unfold, one of the biggest will be caused by mixed messaging around the ‘structured’ aspects of a person’s life. Frequent communication is important for any company, so employees are not left uncertain about what to do or what their employer is doing.

For a leadership team, it is imperative that there is only ‘one single source of truth’ – a central place for staff to reference – containing updated policies, contact details and information on things like sick leave, new procedures and remote working practices.

Management should be in constant communication with team to share updates on actions taken and the impact that this may have on both the business and staff, as well as discussing any relevant updates from official health organisations and government websites. Without this alignment you risk having teams working to different assumptions and making tactical decisions.

Open lines of communications

In addition to daily catchups, a clear communication channel and protocol should be set up to allow easier management of teams working in various locations. Frequent communication, both formal and general engagement should both be considered to help avoid the isolation that can come with working from home, especially for those not used to it.

Teams should be encouraged to create virtual water-cooler moments to help break up the day and alleviate stress, as well as their usual daily team catchups.

Important points of contact

In any organisation there will be multiple points of contact regarding various things on a normal working day. For this reason, it is vital that your team know the most key people to contact during Covid-19, and who will be dedicated to answering specific points. Aspects such as company/business updates, support and resources, as well as general questions about leave pay and absence should all have designated points of contact.

For many businesses who have had to adapt quickly and transition into remote working with haste, producing tips and advice for working from home can aid members of staff adjusting to their new way of working. Sending little reminders and email guides on how to stay active and healthy when working from home, how to get access, and make the most of collaboration tools and set up your home office for optimum productivity are just a few ways to help employees through unsettling times.