Stress levels tend to rise during times of crisis, and you’re probably starting to feel the strain that the fears and worry over the rapid spread of COVID-19 are causing within your teams and your overall business as well.
It’s very easy to get overcome with panic or internalize worries during a time that is very emotionally charged, so it’s important that you take care of yourself, make sure that your employees are caring for themselves to the best of their ability, and get your business systems in shape to weather the unprecedented time of uncertainty.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released recommendations for social distancing, which has prompted many companies to move to remote work, and suddenly.
While remote work is highly advantageous for companies on numerous levels, it can also be quite isolating for employees who aren’t used to working form home. Isolation can compound stress and further aggravate the fear, worry, and other issues with mental health during an infectious disease pandemic such as the Coronavirus.
It’s important that you protect your mental health as well as your physical well-being during this time, and as a fully remote company ourselves (and based on recommendations from the CDC and our own experience working remotely) we wanted to share some things that help support mental health for businesses living (and working) through the impacts of COVID-19.
In the social distancing guidelines released by the CDC, it’s been recommended that group meetings (including professional or social gatherings) be limited to 10 or less people. This protocol for slowing the spread of the virus has caused many companies to move suddenly to remote work, which is always a big adjustment for employees who are used to working in a social environment and businesses that are used to on-site systems needed for everyday business operations and communications.
As you transition to remote work in your business, one of the best things you can do to keep your business strong through connection and morale is to use video conferencing to meet in a face-to-face environment. When you can’t be together physically in the same room, holding a video conference where your employees can see one another’s faces and familiar gestures and body language can provide a sense of connection and improve the quality of communication and collaboration when working remotely.
Isolation is, in many ways, very counterintuitive for most people because humans are social creatures who like to gather, socialize, and gain meaning and fulfillment in life through time shared with other people.
Keep lines of communication open in your business and make sure everyone on your team understands all the channels of communication they can use to stay connected with colleagues, partners, clients, and customers. Make sure your employees know how to connect by phone, video, and chat while working from home, and ensure that they’re encouraged to talk about how they’re doing, how they’re managing stress levels and work loads, and what they need as they’re working at home.
The stress from worry over the virus can present in many ways, and your employees may be losing sleep or not taking good care of their health while trying to mentally deal with everything going on in their lives and the increased complexity of everyday life that has been introduced by the pandemic.
You should encourage your employees to take breaks from work and it’s also a great idea to provide some flexibility in schedules, particularly as so many employees are adjusting to working from home and may have spouses and children at home with them as well. Be kind and thoughtful, and give your employees the room they need to stay mentally and physically healthy and productive.
Remote work has proven to increase employee satisfaction, morale, and productivity, so helping employees adjust to changes and supporting them in their work and lives will help ease the transition and boost the effectiveness of their work as time goes on.
Social distancing protocols do not limit time outside, as long as people stay 6 feet or more away from others. This means that going on walks, taking a hike, or enjoying nature is a safe way to get fresh air, exercise, and much needed stress relief.
Getting outside for just 20 minutes a day can help decrease stress and increase well-being and morale. Working and living in isolation is a huge challenge that can cause people to feel a range of emotions including (but not limited to) sadness, depression, and desperation. Encouraging breaks and time spent outside the confines of a home where everyday life and work now take place can be very beneficial for your employees and company morale during this challenging time.
In such an uncertain time, the health of your business is undoubtedly weighing heavily on your mind, and you’ve been forced to adjust and figure out solutions for moving to remote work suddenly. One of the best ways to support continuity in your business and ensure you’re able to uphold your business processes and communications through times of social distancing due to pandemic or even economic crashes, is to move your business to the cloud.
In response to the crisis, many cloud-based communication and collaboration software vendors are stepping up to meet the challenge and aid the sudden shift to remote work with extended free trials and other tools to help companies stay connected and make the transition to remote work as seamlessly as possible.
If you need help choosing the best cloud-based tools to support successful remote work, our team is here to help! We have relationships with all the leading software vendors, and we’re happy to connect you with vendors and set up complimentary appointments to get you the tools you need for operating your business remotely.
Drop us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to assist you!