The world is a turbulent place right now, some countries are in the recovery after a long lockdown period while others are looking to move back into lockdown to prevent further spread of the COVID19 virus.
The effect this has had on the workforce is expansive, many staff are conflicted between a want to satisfy their social need (a natural element of being human) and a need to ensure the safety of their own health and the health of their immediate family and vulnerable family members.
On the other hand, many employees have had an opportunity to try working from home under the recommendation of the government, possibly after previously making requests to try working from home but often disregarded by their employer.
Not only have staff been able to efficiently work at home, but they have also done so through a traumatic time when naturally our attention has been split between fulfilling our responsibilities and ensuring our ongoing safety.
If employers start requesting staff move back into the workplace fulltime with no negotiation on work-from-home days or addressing concerns of a safe working environment – they will soon find themselves with more than a disgruntled employee on their hands.
Why Staff Deserve To Be Heard
A business naturally relies on two things to run – customers and employees. If you are a small business, you may only need a few hands-on employees to manage your customer base.
However, most businesses want to grow and develop and to do that, they need more customers and more employees to be able to meet their customer requirements.
They may not seem it, but your employee’s needs are some of the most important of the business – a happy employee is more willing to give their all to ensure the success of the company and the happiness of your customers.
If you disregard your employees, they won’t give their all to their tasks and you might find their work lacklustre or disappointing – which means your customers do too.
By listening to your staff, understanding their needs and fulfilling them to the best of your ability – without causing a detriment to the business – you will have a productive, engaged workforce that is loyal to you.
Engaging With Staff
Good staff aren’t made by just leaving your staff to your responsibilities, they require attention and for their employer to engage with them regularly.
This can be achieved in a number of ways – such as one-to-one catch-ups that discuss their happiness in the business, access to tools and resources for personal development and group meetings to explore various employee growth and development ideas.
The only people who can give you a true idea of what your employees need to do their job to the best of their ability is your staff themselves. If you engage with your staff regularly, they will feel more comfortable outlining their expectations for their role and how they’d like to develop in it, even if there is little room for promotion into higher roles.
Addressing Immediate Concerns
As we mentioned, the world we are currently experiencing is well beyond anything we have ever lived through before and this can have unseen effects on the mental and emotional health of all of us.
Make sure you listen to your staff about their worries about returning to work – whether it’s ensuring a regularly cleaned workspace with shields in place, agreeing to a certain number of days in the office or an alternative safe solution.
You may even find positive reciprocation from your staff by providing means and resources for aiding in mental or emotional stresses that have built up over the lockdown and ongoing pandemic.
Without your staff, you may struggle to keep business afloat and with more businesses willing to meet their staff on their concerns and put safe working practices in place including favorable work from home time-splits, your staff won’t feel motivated to stay.
Talk to your employees today and work together to come to a safe working agreement that keeps both parties happy – rather than having to list their available job tomorrow.
Alex is fascinated with “understanding” people. It’s actually what drives everything he does. He believes in a thoughtful exploration of how you shape your thoughts, experience of the world.