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How To Help Your Team Cope With COVID Change

Change has been so constant during the COVID-19 pandemic that it has almost become the norm!

Especially at work.

Lockdowns, working from home, reduced hours, reduced wages, back to the office, another lockdown, working from home again, working overtime at home, back to the office again in split teams, changed hours, split shifts…

The way we work keeps shifting to adapt to the changes of this endlessly evolving pandemic.

Even for the most adaptable among us, all this uncertainty has been unsettling and at times exhausting.

As a business owner, employer and manager, you can do one very valuable thing for your team: provide a sense of stability, safety and security. For an employee knowing their employer has their back can take the edge off any anxiety at even the most uncertain of times.

Here, we share our top five tips for helping your team through uncertainty and change at work in the era of COVID-19.

1. Put Safety First

You can quell a lot of anxiety by organising a safe working environment for your team. Encourage them to monitor their health, have no negativity about explained absences and provide access to:

●        RATs

●        Masks

●        Sanitiser

●        Safety screens and additional PPE gear at public-facing workstations.

You can look after mental health safety, too. It is important to recognise that all people have limits and that everyone is under stress. Foster a culture where people take regular breaks and use their  leave allowance without guilt or worry.

2. Be Prepared For Staff Shortages – And Get Help

While we’re dealing with the Omicron wave, people may need to abruptly go into isolation if their family members, flatmates – or they themselves – fall ill.

This can send everyone’s stress levels soaring. Help yourself and your team by being prepared. Formulate a plan for the most difficult scenarios such as closures, postponements or cancellations of projects and events. Prepare honest communications for your employees in advance, and help the changes feel a little bit less jarring – for you and for them.

As the situation evolves, it's important to keep up to date with the current isolation rules. So, regularly check in with what the latest rules are on the Ministry of Health website

Tip: You may be eligible for government help to pay wages or salary costs for an employee who can't work from home and must self-isolate due to illness, or if they’re awaiting COVID-19 test results. Visit Work and Income to find out more. Temporary and contract staff can also access this support, and if you recruited your temporary team member through LD Recruit, we take care of the subsidy application for them!

3. Stay Connected

Use regular meetings – via video call for anyone who may be working from home or isolating – to build staff support and resilience, and help staff feel less adrift at times of change.

Encourage your team to be open about concerns and ideas. For those working from home or isolating, there are things you can do to reduce feelings of isolation. It can be as simple as setting up a WhatsApp chat group to discuss jobs, share jokes and check in with everyone.

For those in the office, have an open door policy and create open communication with regular catch ups and opportunities to give (and receive) feedback.

4. Save Your Team…With Gratitude

The impact of showing the team your gratitude can be enormous. These days, people are re-evaluating their lives and reprioritising what’s important. This is leading to a so-called ‘Great Resignation’. Around the globe, staff are less willing to remain in a job where they don’t feel appreciated, with many preferring to go it alone – or remain unemployed – than stay in an unfulfilling role.

Don’t lose good people and all the institutional knowledge they possess. Thank them for the work they are doing during difficult times and let them know how much they matter. Your team will be more likely to take change in their stride if they’re happy and feel valued at work.

5. Recruit With Care

It’s vital to find the right person for the role in these unique times we find ourselves in. With already stretched resources, you may not have the capacity to handle the recruitment process in-house.

LD New Zealand is a personal powerhouse of recruitment and finance knowledge supporting Kiwi businesses. We’re focused on creating a great experience for both companies and candidates during the recruitment process – and we understand the difficulties that COVID has created at work.

We’re well-versed in helping businesses to find the right person in these challenging times. Specialising in both recruitment and finances, we have a unique understanding of the cost and importance of hiring correctly. Contact us today for further advice on recruitment in COVID times and supporting your team through change.