How do I rebuild my team’s mojo when lockdown eases?
The first in our series: What business leaders are thinking but may be too afraid to ask!
There is no getting away from the fact that we all will be different from the people we were back in 2019. Even without the pandemic people change over time but when you are working side by side the changes tend to be slight and we grow and roll with them. When they are exacerbated by a pandemic and forced time apart (screen time doesn’t really count) these changes take place behind closed doors.
Our mental health has been challenged and we may not want to talk about it. Those with families will have had a very different experience to those who were managing this time alone. Unfortunately there will be many who have suffered loss and may not yet have had time to process this. In fact, it should be a given that, all of us have not had time to process what has happened, the impact it has had and will continue to have on our lives. What we have learnt is that we do all care more about our own wellbeing and those around us.
So, what as managers do we do?
There is no one answers fits all because everyone is different but there are definitely steps you can take to bring people together, to move forward and create a positive company culture that cares.
Be available – and be proactive in being available. Make sure not all check-ins are business related. Use difference medium to formal meetings to make the informal chat more relaxed. Many said they missed the coffee break or corridor catch up when working from home so try to create that time and space.
Be flexible – people prefer having choice and this isn’t just in where people work but when and how people work. Look at building in the flexibility that is right for your team as a group of individuals that plays to their work-life balance and they will thank you by being more productive and committed.
Be empathetic. Make people feel comfortable that its ok not to feel ok. This may be as simple as letting someone ‘take a moment’, take that family phone call, pop outside to get some fresh air. Also recognise that different people will have different levels of anxiety about being with other people. Work with your HR teams on how best to accommodate this and talk to your team about showing respect for each other’s views.
Be supportive. Consider wider support policies that focus on employee wellbeing. Whether it is a 24hour talk helpline, free gym app, in house massage or yoga, or access to healthier eating choices there are many ways to create an environment that promotes mental and physical restoration.
Be upbeat. It’s not very British to celebrate success and we aren’t talking about over praising here but let’s not overlook when things do go well. Make 2021 when we start to really recognise efforts as well as results. Maybe it is time to bring back celebrating what we’ve achieved as a definite budget line item - the hospitality industry will certainly thank you for it.