The Improv Theater Stage of Life and Work in the Time of Covid - do we need work-life balance or blending?
The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has impacted people, businesses, and economies worldwide. For many companies, employees showed commitment and bravery by showing up for work every day, unsure of how the virus spreads, and what consequences it could have on their health.
As we slowly see the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s time to move from survival mode into the new normal. And there’s no better way to do so than to show your employees how much your company values them.
For many companies, employees showed commitment and bravery by showing up for work every day, unsure of how the virus spreads, and what consequences it could have on their health.
They may be dealing with fears of losing their job or wondering how they’re going to make ends meet if they’re living in a one-income household right now. They may be worried about what the future will bring for many reasons — explore ways you can reward your employees now and into the near future.
It’s time to review your employee benefits to check if they resonate with the needs of your employees post-COVID. Classic employee benefits like paid time off, health insurance, and an employer-sponsored retirement plan will always be appreciated. But other benefits and perks, such as a gym membership, may not be practical right now due to safety concerns.
You can pivot your company’s wellness program into a COVID-safe program by paying for app subscriptions for home workouts that could replace an employee’s gym workout, or provide personal trainers that could organize smaller, company-related outdoor workouts for small groups of employees.
The biggest winner of the COVID-19 pandemic may have been remote work. Many companies switched employees to work-from-home status to keep business running through the crisis.
Twitter recently announced employees may work from home “forever” if they choose. It’s a smart move — with many workers dealing with school closures and kids home, it may be difficult to find alternative childcare.
There may be a sizeable number of your staff who would appreciate the flexibility of remote work.
If it’s logistically possible for your company to run part of its operations remotely, giving your team the opportunity to choose to work from home could show your sensitivity to their needs.
If sales are currently down and employee performance bonuses are an important part of the compensation package your staff receive, find creative ways to adapt the money they’d normally earn on commissions and count on.
Consider diverting or adapting the funds from performance compensation to needs- or appreciation-based compensation.
For example, avoid using the traditional ways of looking at how an employee is compensated based on numerical values that benchmark an employee’s contribution to your company’s bottom line. It’s entirely possible that sales are not what they used to be as people adjust their spending habits. If you have a recognition programme in place, measure co-workers’ sentiment in recognition messages given to each other based on performance in other areas and reward them accordingly.
Another tactic you could try is to take the amount you’d normally allocate for employee performance bonuses and put the funds into a general pool instead. Divide the fund pool by the number of employees according to the years they’ve worked for the company, or create a short-term performance-based bonus that rewards your team for their hard work during the coronavirus. Divide and distribute the bonus among your employees as a token of your appreciation.
Your team will likely appreciate the bonus right now, which they could use towards their rent payments or any other bills they’ve fallen behind on.
Changes to employee benefits that adapt to the global crisis can benefit your team now and further down the road, since their needs have likely changed for good.
If your company experienced a period when many employees worked from home or had reduced hours, coming back together can have its challenges. It’s quite possible your staff may feel out of sync and need some time to adapt to the workplace again. Fun activities that bring your company back together and motivate your employees are a good way to show how much you value your employees.
Create team-building games that can bring unity back in the workplace — it will help your employees transition back to work. Team-building exercises have to adapt to the safety concerns that come with the COVID-19 outbreak. Therefore, high-contact games and activities should be avoided for now.
Try playing the Two Truths game with staff. It can be played among remote and in-person workers. Each person has a turn to share three “truths” they experienced during the quarantine, but one should be false. Other employees should guess which one isn’t true.
Besides team-building games such as Two Truths, factor in longer breaks at work initially. Consider bringing in activities employees can do in their downtime to unwind and relax, such as a ping pong table or game consoles. It will give them the chance to reconnect with other coworkers in a more casual way and slowly adapt to their work environment.
Although games aren’t a monetary or tangible reward, they could help create a sense of comfort and ease among staff after a long and challenging period. Employers that care about how the members of their workplace feel is a good way to show employees that they’re valued.
Making your employees feel valued can be achieved through many methods. The most tangible way is to provide compensation in the form of bonuses, raises, or expanded benefits, as mentioned above. But, you can also actively communicate how much you value your team through recognition and appreciation.
Creating an environment where your employees feel they’re seen and heard is powerful. Small steps that recognize and appreciate your employees, such as celebrating birthdays, sending thank you emails, and recognizing workplace milestones can go a long way towards creating a workplace where gratitude is present.