There are so many uncertainties today. How long will this shelter in place last? Will I get sick? What will I do if I do get sick? How do I work with my young kids around? Are my family members being safe? With the majority of people’s personal lives feeling so uncertain, people will look to their jobs as their one constant.
Coming off of the announcement that Objective Paradigm was voted a Chicago’s best place to work by Crain’s just a few weeks ago, I have been racking my brain on how I can keep our great office culture alive in our remote workspace with an ultimate goal of creating a safe comfortable environment for our employees, when the world outside is so unsettling.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the very basic level of a human’s need is to feel physiologically safe. At a time, where no one feels “safe” how can we help create this for our employees?
Here are a few ways:
If you are a company who is capable of working remotely and have not allowed this yet, your employees need it. They are scared and unsure of everything and I can pretty much bet you that they aren’t doing their best work at the office. Productivity might pick up if they feel better about their surroundings.
Managers or HR should be checking in with their employees to ensure they have their bases covered without being overbearing. Do they have some food in their house? Medicine in case they get sick? Do they have support from friends or family nearby if they need it? Asking your employees these questions will show them your company’s level of care for them (of course, while being mindful that we cannot ask health related questions).
Health and Well-being
We should also be encouraging our employees to be healthy during this time. While we no longer have to commute into the office, our employees should be encouraged to wake up and continue with their normal morning routine. Getting dressed and feeling professional will help them work better each day. If you feel like a lazy slug, your work will reflect that. It’s also important our employees are getting some physical exercise in as well. Maybe institute a walking challenge during this time or give them links to some free online workout resources like The Nike Training app, or Peleton’s free 90 day trial.
Connections and human interaction are super important right now. OP made a quick decision to get on Slack last week to ensure employee communications were kept fluid. We are encouraging our employees to do Slack calls as opposed to chatting everything so people can continue to interact “face to face”. One of our employees created a virtual lunchroom in slack so we can still eat and chat together. We have also created a ton of other fun random channels so employees can communicate via Slack without having it be just about work.
Make a safe space for employees if they want to discuss thoughts that are stressing them out with either HR or their managers. We are small enough that I am making a point to Slack call each employee this week for a “how are you holding up” call. Also, if an employee needs a resource of any sort related to their benefits, or even how to get groceries if they are immune compromised, I am making a point to help support them in any way I can.
When looking for the positive in this unknown situation, I know we will get through it and come out as a stronger, more effective team. We will learn how to communicate more efficiently, and support each other more than we ever have had to before. In some ways, I think we will grow a deeper bond, just knowing we got through something so unprecedented before.
Since people are looking to their jobs as their constant right now, it’s important that we as managers, employees, HR professionals, are helping each other and supporting our teams in ways above and beyond during this uncertain time.
Chief of Staff, Dayna Stoller, creates internal initiatives that contribute to the overall well-being of OP’s employees. Dayna has tackled an overhaul of benefits and onboarding processes, vastly improving the experience for all while nurturing a culture that received Crain’s Chicago Best Places to work in 2018 and 2020. Dayna also helps to lead Objective Paradigm’s efforts in the charity founded by Ryan Pollock, T4Youth.