The previous tip ‘Question time‘ listed some pandemic planning considerations. Whilst most of them are still valid, for many of us the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus means the pre-planning phase is now well and truly over and we’ve implemented or are implementing our strategies and plans.
A key strategy for many organisations is home working. However, the hurried implementation of social distancing measures has resulted in significantly more widespread home working than many were previously used to or had planned for. This rapid and significant change in working practices has, hardly surprisingly, resulted in some challenges.
The following is a selection of practical measures that various organisations have implemented to help address some of those challenges. Not all of them will apply to your situation, but some may provide food for thought.
- Creation and maintenance of an up-to-date list of FAQs to keep staff informed and reduce calls to HR, IT help desk, line managers, etc;
- Careful consideration of whether/when to use video during online meetings – on the one hand video encourages engagement and focus (it’s more difficult to check social media on your phone, work on something unrelated or have a crafty snooze when everyone can see what you’re doing!), on the other, poor internet connections can degrade call quality, which can be distracting, frustrating or impair the meeting’s effectiveness;
- Daily, bi-weekly or weekly online team meetings (at the same time each day/week);
- Regular social online meetings with no work-related discussion (possibly as a scheduled part of daily/weekly team meetings);
- Bi-weekly or weekly all-employee online meetings so staff can see each other, ask questions and/or share experiences;
- Regular, short, informative/motivational videos from the CEO or other members of the leadership team;
- Short, fun online team games at lunchtimes or on Friday afternoons;
- A ‘virtual coffee lounge’ where people can drop in occasionally when taking a break and chat with whoever’s there;
- Ensuring employees have a suitable chair (recognising that a dining chair or armchair isn’t suitable for extended periods of working) – if not, arranging for one to be delivered;
- Providing point(s) of contact for confidential discussions if people have concerns.
This list will be added to as other measures are identified, so if you have any suggestions, either from your own organisation or things you’re aware of that others have done please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay safe and well.