What can employees do

Corona pandemic: How executives support their employees

Even two months after the start of the lockdown, the corona pandemic continues to determine everyday work. Many employees have been working in the home office for weeks and try to manage the balancing act between childcare and task fulfillment as well as a lack of social contacts and smooth teamwork. Various surveys show that the ongoing exceptional situation is becoming more and more of a burden.

The StepStone job portal, for example, regularly surveys specialists and executives to determine the mood during the Corona crisis. If the employees were in a positive mood at the beginning and a lot of things worked better than expected in the home office, their mood and motivation suffer over time. Every second person is even more concerned than it was four weeks ago and 40 percent feel more tired and stressed. In addition, a majority of those surveyed are not only concerned about the situation of their own company, but also about the overall economic situation in Germany.

What can leaders do to improve the situation?

The situation remains challenging for everyone involved. But leaders can help their employees stay positive and motivated. According to a survey by the Business Forum for Managers, clearly formulated messages and open communication are important tools in times of crisis. Because if the employees know exactly what the current situation of the company looks like and what is planned, they can assess the situation more clearly and perhaps do not worry about unfounded concerns.

Companies should make sure that they communicate consistently internally and externally so as not to confuse their employees. It also makes sense to highlight the common goals and values ​​with every information or press release, because these give employees a feeling of solidarity and belonging.

An open ear for employees' problems

The management consultancy accenture also asked in a survey what employees want from their managers when dealing with COVID-19: Trust plays a central role here. This includes that managers respond to the physical, mental and interpersonal needs of their employees, and not only in times of crisis. Managers should, for example, proactively take care of a strategy that will get the company through the crisis, and not just react to current changes. This course of action can reduce the insecurity of your own employees.

In addition, managers should offer regular meetings for their employees. In these meetings, special attention can be paid to the worries or problems of the employee in the home office. Perhaps there are smaller things that the manager can change and thereby reduce the employee's stress. For example, that the employee can do some of the tasks in the evening if there is no care for the children during the day. Sometimes the only thing that helps is a regular exchange, through which the employee feels that he and his problems are taken seriously. This, in turn, can have a positive effect on motivation.

If it emerges in these discussions that the employee is very poor at dealing with the situation and is suffering from severe psychological strain and stress, the manager should provide further offers of help. This can range from sports offers to compensate for psychological stress to the mediation of psychological support (e.g. Corona hotline of the Federal Association of Psychologists: 0800 777 22 44 daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.).

Another option: relieve employees

Many employees put more pressure on themselves in the home office. They want to prove that they can work as well or better at home than at the office. These colleagues often don't take breaks, try to complete tasks in less time, or often work overtime. The result: You are tired and find work at home very stressful. With these employees, the managers could insist on a fixed lunch break, which is entered in the calendar and adhered to. In addition, managers should relieve these employees of unnecessary work; a focus on the essentials is advisable here.

After the lockdown, a time will begin with corona protective measures: Managers should prepare the company and employees for the future and communicate the first measures early. Because even an approximate schedule for the return of the employees to the office can help to give the employees an orientation and to see the work in the home office with different eyes, as they know that it is limited.

When executives make an effort to help their employees deal with their fears and stress, it will not only make things like virtual work more productive and enjoyable, but it can also help to build a whole new and more positive relationship with the people they work with that one works.

Do you need immediate or temporary personnel solutions in your management? Talk to us, we will be happy to advise you.