Five tips on how to keep in touch with your team during uncertain times

As the COVID-19 continues to spread while causing worldwide panic and fear, financial crisis, and a scaring number of affected, it also has far-reaching consequences for organisations of all industries and around the whole globe.

While some businesses have had to close their doors temporarily, others are tending to hire new employees as soon as possible to meet the increased demand for their services or goods in these uncertain times. 

uncertain timesWhat’s more, the employment landscape has changed significantly in recent months, and remote management has exploded due to the novel virus outbreak. Remote working and management have their own set of distance-related problems. Still, in these uncertain times, there are added complexities when employees are grappling with the unknown and having a lot of concerns. No matter what type of business you run, if you have the right people and proactive, transparent strategy in place, they will eventually be able to adapt to these adjustments and continue driving productivity for your business.

Now more than ever, it is critical to stay connected with your team each step of the way, even if you can’t meet them in person. Let’s draw attention to five tips to help build constant communication with your employees and ensure you are getting the information they need during these uncertain times. 

Make a plan

Setting a new “rules of engagement” for your co-workers will help everyone stay connected and adjust to this new routine. Periodic small meetings and one-and-ones communication can help to discuss the situation as it’s evolving and understand individual and most pressing issues of your team members. 

Establish how often and when you will check in with one another, for instance, two times within a day, daily, or every other day. Whether it’s email, text, messaging platform like Slack, or video conferencing like Zoom and Google Meetings, set the ground rules of how your employees can best communicate. Make sure to leave some time at the beginning of each meeting to check-in with each other and talk about how everyone is doing. A good idea to send out all-team emails as you have updates to let employees know the current state and the next steps for your company. 

Communicate often

Good communication is always a crucial factor in management, yet in a time when so much else isn’t clear, its value is amplified. The uncharted environment where employees have questions and uncertainty about the future only increases the need for communication.

Staying in touch with remote workers and teams even more often than usual gives people a platform to share concerns, helps to instil confidence in the workforce, and allows them to discuss plans that need to be employed across an organisation.

Be honest & consistent

While no one can predict how long the coronavirus pandemic will last or the impact it will have on each business; it’s essential to keep employees informed and be transparent in all your communications. The last thing any employee wants at a hard and unclear time is to feel as though they are being left in the dark. 

Outline the overall situation and how it influences your business, discuss current challenges, and what changes your organisation can make to adapt. The key here is to provide employees with the basic facts in a way that is balanced and open. When someone asks you a question, don’t dance around the problem, and give an honest answer.

Refrain from sugarcoating

While you may be tempted to embellish over companies’ news that won’t be well received, a positive attitude needs to be tempered by realism. The desire to minimise risks and ease your team’s fears is understandable, but delivering a fairytale version of reality does no one any favours. Besides, problems your company is facing will become apparent over time, and downplaying hard truths can backfire. 

However, consider to navigate your conversations with care and try to look at the situation from his/her shoes. Think about those important words that you yourself would want to hear and allay their anxiety as much as you can.

Offer support

Consider encouraging your staff through rousing, inspiring language as not everyone might feel the positivity during these times. Just because you might not understand what member of your team is going through doesn’t mean you can’t show support and compassion. Let your employees know that you aren’t just doing what is best for the company but also care about their wellbeing.

As a leader, it’s essential to acknowledge that these are uncertain times with pressures coming from all directions. Bring your whole self and show your understanding toward increased worry, changes in their routines, and work-from-home setups. When you are upfront, supportive, and kind in your communications, this can help your team members to feel “seen” and understood.