In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire world is anxiously waiting and watching as our global story unfolds. Most companies have moved to a mostly or entirely work-from-home model, and our routines have been drastically altered. This is a time of unease and uncertainty which means it’s never been more important to take action to support the mental health and morale of your workforce.  The importance is not only due to the current crisis, but because – as we all know – high employee morale is a key driver for productivity, performance and retention. Business owners, leaders and managers can and must do more to remotely engage and care for their employees.

Here’s what has been working well for us:

  • Hold a morning video huddle – Consider holding a brief company-wide video huddle each morning to kick off the day. A bit of face time with senior leadership, combined with an invigorating pep talk and a bit of good news sharing can set the right kind of positive, productive tone for the day ahead. This is an idea we’ve implemented at pH-D Feminine Health since the outbreak, and we’re seeing a very good response from our employees as a result. Transparent and frequent communication, preferably over video, can help to create a sense of connection and camaraderie within a remote workforce.

  • Host a Friday digital happy hour – In lieu of an in-person team outing, many companies are initiating weekly digital happy hours, in which employees (if they choose) can join an informal, just-for-fun video chat with their colleagues and their favorite alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage of choice. This is a great opportunity to let off steam, share personal updates and just get a little much-needed socialization time. While it may seem frivolous, this kind of fun is critical for supporting good mental health and boosting morale.
  • Show you really care – Find little ways to demonstrate your empathy and care for employees from afar. This may mean designating a leader to send a handful of text messages to different employees each day to check on their individual well-being. Or it could be setting up a listening mechanism to capture employee concerns, questions and comments. At the very least, be sure to stay in frequent contact with news and information that may be helpful. Send regular email, video, chat or text communications aggregating the great resources that already exist out there, like these CDC guidelines for managing stress and anxiety.

No matter your industry or business, I firmly believe that your colleagues are definitely more than just employees, they are your work family. After all, in a typical week, you’d be spending more time with them than with your actual family members, loved ones and friends. Your colleagues are people who are just like you. They’re facing the same fears and challenges you’re facing. Only by recognizing their needs and feelings can you hope to engage and fully support them in this difficult time.