Suddenly having to work at home has taken away some of our private space and created challenges for employees. In our second blog, we spoke about the need that we all have for psychological safety, belonging, and mattering. We also gave conscious leaders some suggestions for ramping up ways to create that needed safety. In this blog, we give the conscious leader some suggestions that we have learned from others.
Get creative with solutions.
- Have task mentors train and explain on Zoom. Here’s a personal example from one of the authors. Kris watched while her mentor showed her how to record on YouTube. “I could have been sitting right next to him as he shared his screens and moved the camera around to show his set up.”
- I attended a Zoom workshop that had a Zoom coach; she helped participants break into smaller groups, brainstorm, etc.
- Have work-at-home mentors, not just the IT department with the technical help. The work-at-home mentors can help with the new at home realities of homeschooling, childcare, and private space. Of course, employees need technical coaching so that they don’t have to stand next to the front window to get enough bandwidth.
- Larger companies have enlisted stress management and psychology professionals to be available confidentially for employees. They have set up Listening Posts –a better way of describing Mental Health.
- Continue the rituals. Convert them from in person work to a virtual world. One company still has Pizza Friday. What employee doesn’t love free food? To make it possible that everyone could afford to join, the company sent each employee $15.
- When you have informal time together, have employees share resilience stories. A resilience story recounts a time when someone overcame adversity. Theirs or someone else’s. Resilience stories are personal, so Kris offered one of hers: “My father went bankrupt during the Depression. The only job he could get was digging ditches. The only entertainment he had was spending one nickel for a night of poker.” Stories about overcoming hardship inspire others to have the belief that they can make it through.
- Now that you are working from your private space, conduct a Getting to Know You exercise. Prepare employees so they are not surprised. Ask them to share something from their personal space that they would not have brought to the office. Their pet fish. Favorite poster. The stuffed animal on their bed. Let them pass if they don’t want to play the game.
Leaders, don’t waste a good crisis. Make this an opportunity where your values shine. Show employees that they are safe; they belong; they matter. You will have a tighter and more resilient team.
The authors -- Donnie Hill and Kris Schaeffer – have never worked together before. Heck, they’ve never even met in person. They hope to be models of how to thrive while working virtually.
Donnie recently resigned from his full-time tech job as a Marketing & Sales Enablement Specialist to build his own coaching and consulting company, Life Maximizer, LLC. Now he’s taking his 15 years of experience to advise senior executives and leaders on increasing resilience and rebuilding so they can grow post-COVID. Donnie is really starting to love his new 15-second commute and the freedom to bounce between his garden, his home office and his kitchen table.
Kris has always worked from her office where she is surrounded by binders full of 35 years of work. And books. Her only personal “homeschooling” has been the current year when she studied for the certification as a conscious consultant. Now she is a work gypsy who finally settled on the kitchen table where she’s able to get bandwidth. Kris Schaeffer & Associates helps companies engage their employees and astound their customers by building conscious cultures.