Companies are facing a new normal because of COVID-19 and need to find ways to help their employees maintain productivity, and boost morale overall, as they continue to work from home into the foreseeable future. It is vital that HR professionals and companies alike offer their employees a continued sense of normalcy and try to transition their professional lives as seamlessly as possible while this pandemic continues to ensue.

Since employees are scared and highly uncertain about developments with the crisis – especially if they have recently traveled or are currently located near hotspots – it is up to companies to implement processes that help to curb their anxiety, while ensuring that they continue to work efficiently and effectively.

In order to calm employees’ fears and help them maintain their productivity and boost morale as they work remotely, here are a few ways that companies can help:

1. Conduct company & team check-ins more frequently

It’s important to continue to communicate clear goals to team members so that everyone stays on track. To accomplish this, companies can set up Zoom video conferences to increase morale, combat loneliness and continue to move forward with key deliverables in mind. 

Along with this, companies can also host virtual happy hours or trivia games which are increasing in popularity, especially since 55% of remote workers state that they feel part of a team when they connect regularly.

2. Handle all travel logistics to take away some stress

While most employees are no longer traveling for work, if employees were traveling during the outbreak or had any upcoming business travel planned previously, companies can step in to take away some of their stress through handling any travel logistics, such as flight/hotel cancellations. 

To help employees even further, companies can direct them to a knowledge base so that they can keep up-to-date on all current travel advisories/alerts as well as airline cancellation policies, which can be helpful to have in place for when business returns to normal. Since this information can be rather complex and anxiety inducing, companies should ensure their employees know who to call in case they need assistance as well as if they are experiencing any symptoms by directing them to Teladoc or another telemedicine provider that is available 24/7. 

3. Provide best practice productivity tips for working remotely

Companies have a duty to help their employees feel as normal as possible during this time and transition them from office to home life. One effective method that companies can recommend is timeboxing, meaning that employees restrict their worklife to specific rooms or times in the house to help separate from their personal life. 

GitLab, the world’s largest all remote company, has always advised their employees to practice timeboxing, where you can either dedicate a room to work in or slot in “focus time,” where employees carve out 3-4 highly productive and undisturbed hours of the day (including short breaks, of course). In addition to this, GitLab recommends setting up a consistent routine, creating deadlines for yourself, writing down your to-do list each day and wrapping up work and disconnecting at the same time as usual. 

Now is also the time to look into less traditional productivity tools, like Donut – a popular app by Slack – which facilitates virtual coffee or donut meetups with teammates. Companies can advocate for fun app’s like this that perhaps weren’t used as much beforehand so that their remote employees can continue to build authentic relationships with their co-workers, increasing productivity, engagement and happiness overall.

During this tumultuous time, it’s even more essential for companies to overly communicate and help their employees maintain productivity and happiness while they’re working remotely. Companies can do this through implementing processes such as holding more team check-ins and meetings to creating a knowledge base with all updated travel advisories to communicating top tips for how their employees can stay on track and focus on their work. By providing employees with key resources and tools, they will be able to work as efficiently as possible while the current crisis continues into the foreseeable future.