6 Ways to Show Your Workers You Care During a Pandemic
As an employer, it is your duty to look after your employees’ welfare. This includes ensuring that they are working in a safe environment and that they have the resources they need to care for themselves. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have also had to transition to a work-from-home setup to prevent the spread of the virus. With this arrangement in what is now called the “new normal,” communication and transparency are also more important than ever. After all, with the lockdown measures in place, it’s easy for employees to feel disconnected and disregarded by their employers.
Fortunately, you can do something about this. Whether it is a small act that you do to help your workers or it’s an initiative that involves everyone in your company, any effort goes a long way in these unprecedented times. Here are a few ways to show your staff that you care.
Giving Cloth Face Masks and Arm Sleeves to Your Employees
In many places, it is now a requirement for people to wear face coverings whenever they go outside. It’s a small gesture that can really help one’s community by preventing the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, it can be costly for people to keep buying disposable face masks, respirators, and other protective gear like gloves. Repeated use of these single-use products also lead to widespread solid waste pollution in many places, on top of the fact that purchasing them puts a strain on the supply of critical personal protective equipment, depriving those who need them the most. These include medical personnel and other people working on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic.
As an employer, you have the option of giving your employees and their families access to reusable cloth face masks and arm sleeves instead. Not only do these fabric-based products help people avoid contracting and spreading socially communicable microbes, they’re also available in a lot of aesthetically pleasing designs, which actually helps in making them look more like a part of anyone’s daily attire. This makes it very easy to choose the right face mask and arm sleeves.
Providing Laptops and Other Devices That Your Employees Can Use to Work from Home
While work from home arrangements are among the measures being put into place to stop the spread of COVID-19, it’s not so easy for everyone to make that transition. Some people may not have personal laptops or a stable internet connection to enable them to work remotely. The additional expenses and stress of wondering how to get these items can make working from home a lot harder than it has to be. As an employer, you can loan work laptops and portable wifi hotspots to your employees to use for work. This way, they will be better prepared for this new work setup.
Pooling Everyone’s Money to Donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Medical Frontliners
Learning about the plight of doctors, nurses, janitorial workers, delivery drivers, and other front line workers during this pandemic can be concerning. Step up and start an initiative at your company to help these people out. One simple way to do so is to have everyone in the company set aside a small amount of money that will go toward buying a set of PPEs to donate to a local hospital or a similar institution. Your employees will feel empowered about being able to do something for those taking care of their community. Additionally, your collective efforts will be very much appreciated by the recipients of your aid as well.
Holding Regular Catch-up Sessions
Another way to continue supporting your staff members under a work-from-home setup is to meet with them regularly. This can be in the form of conducting weekly meetings to make announcements, doing some basic virtual housekeeping, and more. Showing your employees that they don’t have to be physically present for you to recognize their efforts can go a long way in keeping spirits high during stressful times. Though maintaining that connection with your workers in an online setting can be a bit challenging, the activities are definitely worth scheduling and doing.
Encouraging Work Colleagues to Help Institutions in Need
In COVID-19 times, many people are unable to see and spend time with their loved ones. These include seniors who reside in care home facilities and other individuals who have to isolate themselves from their loved ones. Moreover, the pandemic has also made caregivers’ jobs a lot harder.
Even if you don’t have loved ones in such places, you can still go out of your way to show you care about them. Make things a little easier for them by delivering food or grocery items to these facilities once or twice a month. You can involve your employees in this process too by having them contribute toward the purchase of the items these communities need.
Providing Additional Mental and Emotional Support to Employees Who Are Struggling
While an increased sense of dread is common during COVID-19, some people may also be dealing with grief, intense depression, night terrors, and more. During your regular catch-ups, try to look out for employees who may be showing signs of struggle and reach out to them privately. It’s important to be responsive to these changes as ignoring them can create problems that are harder to fix in a remote work setup. If your employee admits to having a hard time, provide support where possible.
You can modify their workload and assign duties to other team members to lighten the burden. Additionally, you can grant a monthly mental health leave for all employees to help with productivity as well. If the employee needs more structural support, you can refer them to mental health experts or connect them to the company’s employee assistance programs. Afterward, check in on them to see if there are any improvements.
As an employer or manager, it is not necessarily your job to fix all of your employees' problems. However, it is your duty to provide them the support that they need, even in a work from home setup. It can be harder for your staff members to feel that you’re concerned about them during the pandemic, but even a small gesture and a bit of effort can already go a long way.