March 19, 2020

Socially Distant But Virtually Healthy

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As COVID-19 continues to transform the working world as we know it, you’ve likely been inundated with articles and posts regarding work from home strategies and social distancing. If this seems like overkill, think again. 


The act of social distancing has been shown to reduce the peak number of cases and relieve the burden on the healthcare system as they deal with the pandemic as well as their regular patients. Sharing experiences and tips during this time helps us all stay connected, which is important not just on an individual level, but on the corporate level as well. For organizations, staying connected through times of turbulence can help maintain employee engagement and productivity, as well as ease the transition back to normality after the pandemic is over. If your organization only creates three communication strategies, let it be these: 


Regular touch points
It may sound obvious that consistency is key, but it’s easy to let communication slip through the cracks when there are other pressing matters at hand - both at work and at home. Schedule in regular huddles with your team to keep everyone informed and on track (without trying to micromanage). Certain teams may only require a scheduled meeting weekly, but for teams working in close collaboration at least one per day is recommended to increase focus, boost morale, and maintain accountability. Even better? Try bookending your days with team communication to both set up and close down the days together. 

 

Make it personal
While instant messaging platforms and e-mails are convenient, they can cause communication issues and decrease productivity. Avoid confusion and inefficiency by calling when you need to communicate something complicated or important. Not only is calling more effective, but it adds that extra piece of personalization. To get even more personal, use video in as many calls as possible. Seeing each other’s faces helps maintain the connection of the office-setting even when working remotely. 


Social distancing, not emotional distancing
We’re in a volatile situation that most people have never experienced. The economy is changing, jobs are changing, home lives are changing. Many employees are fearful of the unknown road ahead. Organizational leaders have the power to mitigate fear and demonstrate care by communicating more than just business objectives. Create space for workers to openly communicate their worries, remind them of the health and wellbeing resources at their disposal, and pass along anything that may brighten their day. 


Even though it may not be “business as usual” these days, staying connected through regular, personal communication helps employees stay focused and positive. Remember, we’re all in this together.

 

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