Barking Dogs, Screaming Children and Stretch Pants

Posted by: Jessica Mirabile, MBA, PHR, SHRM-CP on Thursday, April 30, 2020

This is such a challenging time for many organizations and their employees. We all have experienced the complexities of working from home at one time or another. Today many of us have to conduct phone and virtual meetings or trainings from home, which is providing us with additional hurdles to overcome. With shelter-in-place rules, employees are sharing workspace with their spouses, children, and other family members and it is not easy! Working parents who are performing double duty with educating their children must be masters in their paying jobs and at parenting. It requires patience, cooperation, and constant scheduling.

Avoiding Burnout

When we add health fear and financial insecurity on top of this, this can lead to burnout. Some warning signs of burnout include absenteeism, lack of involvement in social activities, reduced productivity, and disinterested or nervous body language. Burnout is caused by excessive stress, feelings of isolation — in short, having too much to do and not being able to do many of the things we enjoy doing.

Employers can help employees manage their work-life balance through frequent check-ins with team members to see how they are doing, both personally and professionally. Leaders want to be sure that work expectations are realistic and clearly communicated and measured regularly in order to keep teams focused.

Increasing Employee Engagement

Create opportunities to increase employee engagement on phone and virtual meetings with creative questions for people to discuss. Celebrate milestones, our birthdays, anniversaries, and retirements, as these life events still matter. Take off the business hat for a bit and ask your team how they are doing.

Examples of questions that create fun and meaningful conversations:

  • What are you looking forward to this week/weekend?
  • What are you most grateful for today?
  • What are you most proud of this week?
  • Who have you helped lately?
  • Who helped you?
  • What are you doing to support your wellness?
  • What made you smile today?
  • How can I be a better leader for you this week?

Team members are looking to leadership right now for guidance and hope. Engage in small talk when you start a meeting and avoid dominating the conversation as the host. Use positive language and share a story to persuade and create emotional connections.

We know remote employees can often feel out of the loop so leaders need not worry about over-communicating during this stressful time. Instead, we recommend that leaders communicate on a daily basis with your teams and project confidence while acknowledging challenges. Transparency creates trust and stability. Design opportunities for your employees to build new skills and reinforce old skills.

Please let us know how CEA can serve your business needs at this time through our HR services, coaching, recruiting, leadership, and essential skills offerings for all levels of your company.

Check out CEA’s new 2020 Leadership Series on our website designed to help leaders navigate during COVID-19. We have significant video and conference-calling technology to take the place of in-person meetings and onsite workshops.

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