02 April 2020
UK Connects Managing Director PJ Farr gives his advice on taking care of business and employees during the Covid-19 pandemic and this time of uncertainty.
Start by reading the Chancellor’s guide for small businesses who have been forced to close down during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This contains comprehensive information around business rates, cash flow and lending alongside details on how to best support staff during these extraordinary times.
As a business owner, you are responsible to and for your employees. Reassure them, be open about the situation and communicate regularly, especially if working from home. The decisions we make now will impact their lives and the overall welfare of our companies when the crisis is over.
Ensure daily communication with your employees. I recommend having a structure in place, which is positively enforced. This could take many forms, it might be one-on-one calls if your employees work more independently of each other, or a team call, if they work together. The key here is consistency, offering a reassuring degree of predictability and security. Email alone is insufficient. Make use of the many great video conferencing technologies readily available on the market such as Microsoft Teams, Google hangout or Zoom to stay in touch.
You should always be looking for the silver linings. This is a great time to up-skill and provide training to your staff. There are plenty of online training materials available to support this goal. Maintain individual KPIs and regularly check in to ensure your colleagues are completing their training. This shows that you care about each and everyone in the organisation.
Finally, be available and accessible. Listen to your employee’s concerns or anxieties. If a newly remote employee is clearly struggling but is not communicating stress or anxiety, ask them how they’re doing. Ask a general question such as: “How’s working from home going for you so far?”. Queries such as these, and the answers they prompt, can highlight important information you might not hear otherwise. Once you ask the question, be sure to listen carefully to the response, and briefly restate it back to the employee, to ensure you understood correctly. Let the employee’s stress or concerns (rather than your own) be the focus of this conversation.
UK Connect are dedicated to looking after their employees health and wellbeing during this time of uncertainty. If you have any questions or would like to learn more please contact us on 0333 015 5368.
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