- March 18, 2020
- in Future of Work
- by Elisa Gilmartin
Best Practices for HR Leaders During COVID-19
As COVID-19 continues to impact nearly every corner of our lives, business leaders are increasingly mandating work from home policies to combat the spread of the virus. Employees are now facing concerns over childcare, elderly parents, and economic implications, while juggling the everyday responsibilities of their jobs. And while some organizations have enabled flexible work for years, this is the first time many companies are experiencing the cultural shift to remote work.
According to our research, 83 percent of workers do not believe they need to be in an office to be productive. As HR leaders, we need to come together to support our employees now more than ever while also ensuring that business continuity and productivity remain high.
Personally, I continue to be in awe of our people at Fuze and how quickly we’ve all adapted to the new norm. While we’ve always had a work from anywhere approach, the truth is that employees would like to come into the office to meet and collaborate in person. It’s inspiring to see everyone jump into this 100%. Thanks to our people, technology, and remote work culture, we’re making strides against our strategic initiatives, connecting as teams, and engaging employees without missing a beat.
Whether you’re an HR leader of a big or small company, here are the top three best practices to consider during this time:
Share updates widely and regularly
Just as your local mayor or governor may be providing daily updates and press conferences, HR leaders should also be sharing policy updates in real-time. Whether this includes changes to a remote work policy, flexible working hours, support resources, or simply checking in, ensure that these communications reach all employees and not just select groups. Be transparent if decisions are in flux. Employees are likely feeling concerned and uncertain and will appreciate being briefed, even if it’s simply a “non-update” and more communications are to follow. During these unsettling times, establishing company-wide transparency and setting expectations are critical to employee productivity and morale.
Re-evaluate your work from home policy
Even if you have an existing work from home policy, consider making adjustments. Establish daily video calls for all employees to connect with their team, department, or even the entire company. Remind employees that even though people are remote, it’s important to take a sick day and rest if you’re feeling ill. The best work cannot be accomplished when sick, so just because the team is already out of the office doesn’t mean they need to log on when they’re under the weather. Remember that many employees may be adjusting to new communication and collaboration tools, so be patient with the learning curve and help one another adapt to these technologies.
Provide employee support
Now is the time to support employees both professionally and personally. Encourage managers to assess their own management style and to check-in with direct reports more frequently. Remember that team connection and morale are still just as important, if not more important, as they were in the office. Create a “water cooler” forum for employees to share pictures of their remote work set-up—pets, children, and partners—and include good news of the day stories or shoutouts to team members. Establish a wellness challenge for employees to connect on how they’re tackling mental and physical health—share resources for online yoga and workout classes. Work with managers to identify vulnerable employees and reach out to them. Ensure that they feel supported and help them uncover resources as needed. Most importantly, don’t forget to have a little fun! Plan a virtual happy hour to welcome a new employee, hold a going away party, or just simply get together as a group. Our product team planned a ‘hat day’ this week and got everyone’s creativity flowing. Think about what makes sense for your teams and try something new.
As HR leaders, we have a responsibility to continue to build community even when we’re apart. During unprecedented times, remember that your best business asset is your people. Embrace it when their child or pet pops up on screen with them. While they are not currently sitting down the hall, it’s essential that employees receive real-time transparent information, adjusted work from home policies, and feel supported across their home and work life.
More information on remote work resources for you and your team can be found here.