It has certainly been an interesting few weeks here in Canada. Several short months ago, who would have thought that this would be our current reality? The Covid-19 pandemic and provisions that have been put in place to “flatten the curve” have made us adapt in a hurry. Now, as difficult as this has been, hopefully by being responsible and respecting physical distancing, we’ll be able to get back to “normal” much sooner than if we weren’t taking these precautions. And most importantly, those who do contract the virus and require healthcare services will have a better chance of survival if hospitals aren’t flooded en masse. As a leader, you’re likely wrestling with many personal and professional issues, including the following:
- Social distancing from family and friends
- Navigating working remotely and/or changing the way you currently do business
- Either laying off or potentially needing to lay-off employees
- Reduction in business revenue
When juggling your personal and professional priorities, it’s important that you take time for yourself and your own health in order to best “show up” in your various roles. Although gyms are currently closed, find a workout that you can do at home. As well, get out there and enjoy some fresh air (obeying physical distancing, of course). Take time to meditate, practice yoga, or do other mindfulness exercises. The more grounded you are, the better you will be able to manage the challenges around you.
For those with employees working remotely, ensure to check in with them often. Being physically away from the workplace can be difficult; ensure that your employees still feel connected. For some, they may be living alone, which can make physical distancing that much more difficult. As well, those who are extroverts will likely struggle with physical distancing more than what introverts will. We can be thankful that technology allows us to be much more connected than what we would have been even a few years ago. Having a discussion where you can see the other person on your phone or computer screen may not be as ideal as being in the same room with them, but it certainly helps to increase connectivity between people.
Remote work can create challenges from a supervisory perspective. Now, this won’t be an issue for the most part – after all, the majority of people are self-motivated and self-disciplined enough to do their work without someone constantly monitoring their work. However, if you have concerns that an employee may be taking advantage of their remote work situation to avoid completing tasks, ensure that a conversation takes place with them to set clear expectations (the same thing you’d do if work was still occurring in the regular location). This may involve daily check-ins with the employee and/or them sending you a summary of the tasks they have completed. That said, also understand that employees are busy adjusting to working from home – which may include childcare responsibilities – so their work day may look a bit different than what it does from the office.
Needless to say, it’s been a strange few weeks. Take care of yourself, your family, and your employees, and check in on those who are vulnerable (your elderly neighbour, for example). Be kind to one another and remember that this is a stressful time for everyone. And while it’s good to keep up on the latest Covid-19 developments, make sure that you aren’t constantly listening to or watching the news – find other ways to distract yourself during this (hopefully) once in a lifetime event. Last but not least, hope everyone has a great Easter weekend!