Your employees are at home. There is no line between work and life anymore. And to make matters worse, the economy is failing and there is the added stress of a pandemic. At a time like this, it is important to be human first.
“We all have professional roles, but at the end of the day, we are humans first, and we are dealing with real people,” says Sarbvir Singh, CEO of PolicyBazaar, in his masterclass with Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO of YourStory.
The entrepreneur explains that it is important to respect people’s time and boundaries, and not make work too regimented.
Personally, Sarbvir says that he uses common sense and avoids overcrowding people.
“You don’t need to be in touch with each other 24 hours a day. People have other things to do as well. Everyone is grappling with different things at the same time; respect and understand that,” he adds.
Talk, hear, and act
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and it is important to understand and work around those. A Harvard Business Review (HBR) report states that loneliness is one of the most common complaints when it comes to remote work. Employees will miss the informal social interactions of an office setting.
What people look for is encouragement and emotional support, especially at a time when fear is a strong factor at play. It is important to acknowledge and listen to potential stress, anxieties, and concerns as juggling work and personal life while working from home can be very stressful.
Many may also not openly communicate the stress they are facing and therefore, managers need to keep communication channels open and ask them how they’re doing, listen, and act on it. Another HBR report states that employees look to their managers for cues on how to react to crisis and sudden changes.
The report added if a manager communicates stress and helplessness, it can cause a certain trickle-down effect. You need to not only acknowledge the stress and anxiety, but also provide assurance and confidence that you have a handle of this at least to some extent. Support helps people take on the challenge and gives them focus and purpose.
“Employees can handle more than what their bosses think they can. Employees are smart; you need to trust them with the knowledge and let them help you,” adds Sarbvir.