In light of the last year, keeping employees engaged through support and ensuring their productivity have been key priorities for businesses—these leadership tips will help you maintain a healthy working environment for all your employees.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of the world, from businesses and finances to lifestyle and health.
Professionals and business owners have taken on a unique role in society that can come stress and uncertainty, especially during times of crisis.
Certainly, this past year has given new perspectives, challenges, and opportunities alike and might have tested abilities to overcome adversity.
Many organizations have adjusted their business structures, offerings, or have enforced remote/hybrid work models to meet the health and safety needs of employees.
As we continue to navigate this “new normal” way of working and living, look for ways to become a more agile business by taking steps to improve your business performance and meet the needs of your employees.
Related Post: What is Business Agility?
1. Connect with Employees and Inquire About Their Needs
The pandemic has not only created change in the workplace, but also within personal lives.
Many employees went without a personal connection for long periods of time, which can have a perverse impact their mental and emotional wellbeing.
Adjusting to a full-time remote work setting or even a hybrid work environment can take a toll on employees and their ability to maintain a work-life balance when their office is now in their home.
By taking time to connect personally with employees and uncover areas of concern, needs, and wants, you provide solutions that will allow employees to perform better.
Consider creating a company survey specifically for remote or hybrid employees.
Whether that is supplying them with specific tools at home, resources, or additional training sessions, putting the time into your employees’ needs will create a positive return on investment and boost overall morale.
If you are back in an office setting, there are ways to safely provide check-ins and address the needs of those working in the office.
Honoring requests to improve safety measures to help employees feel more comfortable, providing safe places for employees to eat lunch or distantly communicate in meetings can help reduce anxieties while promoting collaboration.
According to statistics published by ITA Group, effective workplace wellness programs can cause an average reduction of 26% in health costs and 28% in sick days.
Of course, changes take time and there will be various phases that you might need to go through during these transitions.
However, showing your employees your dedication to their health and well-being will go a long way in their minds and will likely inspire a dedicated work ethic all around.
2. Provide personal support and resources
The pandemic had a large impact on the health and wellbeing of many individuals and families, creating a large awareness surrounding financial preparedness, in particular.
While financial planning both personally and professionally has always been important, now more than ever individuals are experiencing firsthand the risk of not having a plan in place.
If something were to happen, it’s a good idea to ensure that an employee’s family is able to maintain your financial responsibilities.
As a business leader, employees can be provided with resources that can help protect their financial future and loved ones.
By encouraging employees to review life insurance coverage options, you can show your support and dedication to their overall wellbeing and future.
It’s recommended that individuals lock in a life insurance policy early on in adulthood when they are young and healthy in order to secure the most affordable rate.
For business owners, it’s also a good idea to ensure that they themselves have coverage should anything unexpected happen.
For peace of mind that the business is protected and put into the right hands, they will want to designate specific beneficiaries in an unanticipated absence.
More than 8 in 10 employers believe employee financial wellness programs and tools help to create more productive, loyal, satisfied and engaged employees.
3. Be transparent and involve your employees in decisions
In order to inspire a collaborative work environment, employee participation during the decision-making processes can mark an important step in giving employees the progression they need to stay productive.
Being an open and honest communicator can help gain the respect of employees and also maintain transparency in return.
The more you know about your business and its people, the better your organization will be able to operate.
Whether you are in a remote setting or in the office, it’s important to ensure that your employees feel comfortable speaking up and feel heard during those situations.
Employees should feel encouraged that they will be supported during internal conversations.
When asked what was holding their company back, 50% of employees pointed to a lack of company-wide transparency.
Transparency and leading by example can help employees still feel appreciated and recognized.
Explaining why you cannot move forward with a specific recommendation or idea is important in gaining their trust and support. This will help them feel comfortable to reach out again in the future.
4. Implement technology solutions and automation
Technology has allowed businesses not only to survive a global pandemic, but to thrive in a new digital world that prior to today may not have been feasible.
With the help of technology and digital tools, businesses can communicate both internally and externally without much difficulty or adjustment to their normal communication patterns.
You can review some of the best tech investments recommended for small businesses interested in improving daily efficiency and boosting revenue.
By taking advantage of the latest technology, you can allow your business to grow, rather than feel held back by a remote office environment.
From process automation to streamlining business practices, technology significantly boosts the productive capacity of a business, and employees are happier to not have to perform manual, menial tasks.
An estimated 95% of businesses report improvements in their processes after ERP implementation. For example, automated tasks for processing data entry can free up employees to focus their energies on tasks that require a human touch
Digitizing certain aspects of the job or simply allowing technology to take the guesswork out of daily tasks can free up much-needed time for your employees.
It’s also important to track the workload of employees to ensure that they are taking care of themselves and not putting in too many hours of work that can lead to negative mental and physical health problems.
By utilizing technology to support employee wellness, increase accuracy, and improve overall productivity, businesses can continue to make strides in your business development without repercussions.
5. Give employees autonomy and new responsibilities
Especially in a remote work setting, it’s easy to become distracted and tempting to want to do other things during the workday.
While scheduled breaks in moderation can actually result in more productivity, it’s important to know your employees are focused and efficient, even when you’re not there to see it.
By giving employees more autonomy in their daily workflow, you can rely on each of them to support one another when it comes to questions and collaboration.
By supporting employees from a distance and allowing them to take ownership, they will feel more responsible for getting their work done, rather than relying on another coworker for the answer.
in 2020, 94% of surveyed employers reported that company productivity was the same (67%) or higher (27%) since employees started working from home during the pandemic.
While earning more responsibility could look like a promotion or department change, it might not be that drastic.
Executives can express confidence in their ability to take ownership of that particular project; giving them that initial encouragement and trust will likely result in high-quality, professional work you will be proud of.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to business leadership, however, there are measures you can take to show your dedication to the success of your employees both personally and professionally.
By encouraging transparency and open communication within your organization and taking steps to help your employees prepare for their future, you can continue to grow your business with the best people for the job.
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