Anyone who has managed a team of people over the last eighteen months will know just what a rollercoaster it has been. Being a boss is stressful enough at the best of times, juggling the twin responsibilities of taking care of your employees while making sure that they are producing the quantity and quality of work that you need them to. Very few of us would have been prepared for how to handle those duties during a global pandemic.
We have been worrying about whether we would be able to keep people on or whether that furlough scheme was just a prelude to redundancies. We have had to be patient and flexible as people have had to take time away from work to look after their families and themselves. We have had to walk our staff through how to work from home even as we figured it out ourselves, and we have all learned a lot about the importance of supporting our co-workers through mental health issues.
Now, things are looking much brighter here in the UK, and it certainly looks like we’re on track for a summer that resembles something a lot like normality. But it’s still a time of tremendous uncertainty, both for people and for businesses. It’s going to be more important than ever that we continue to work on our people management skills and to improve the lines of communication between management and staff. Here are just a few tips to help you this summer.
Don’t Assume That Everything’s Fine Now
With the UK government announcing that Coronavirus restrictions, including masks and social distancing, would be lifted on 19 July, it would be tempting to take this moment to assume that things are going back to normal in the office. But, as more of the points we are going to be covering later in this article will show, we cannot assume that everyone is going to be feeling the same way. Don’t get complacent, keep looking for ways to improve and to keep communicating.
Make The Return To The Office A Choice
When it comes to the return to the office, most people seem to be split into two camps. A lot of people are sick and tired of working from home and they have been craving a return to a more social, collaborative working environment in a shared space. On the other hand, there are many people who are either still extremely anxious about the idea of getting back into rush hour and sharing their space with other people, or they have decided that working from home is their much-preferred option.
Now, it is true that not all businesses have the luxury of giving their employees the choice. But if you can, it may well be worth asking your teams if they would rather continue working from home or return to the office, or a create a hybrid working strategy. If it’s a choice of one or the other, you are not going to be able to please everyone, but a vote will at least point you in the right direction.
Offer One-To-Ones And Work On Improving Your Appraisals And Reviews
The periodic employee review process is traditionally something that is hugely time-consuming and stressful for both the manager and the employee. This is especially true right now, as the economic uncertainty of the pandemic means that everyone is a lot more anxious about their immediate future and job stability than they normally would be. However, the fact of the matter is that we all know how essential regular appraisals and reviews are for both measuring employee performance and giving them the opportunity to voice any issues, concerns or suggestions.
Given that they are quite so necessary, we should all be looking at ways in which we can improve how we go about them. Getting comprehensive feedback for 360 appraisals is essential to having a clear picture of how the employee is performing but gathering all that data can be time consuming. That is where online appraisal software can make a huge difference. StaffCircle offers appraisal software that can be customised to your specific needs, allowing you to get faster, clearer data for your reviews.
Mental Health Is Still A Priority
As we mentioned in the intro to this article, we have all learned a lot about the importance of understanding mental health issues in the workplace. We have all read the reports about the impact of the pandemic on mental health, and now that restrictions are lifting, a lot of people are talking about post-lockdown anxiety.
Mental health problems do not go away when they are ignored, and if you want to keep your staff healthy and keeping away from the point of burn out, then you need to make sure that you have a system in place where they can tell you if they are struggling. Keep communicating and keep supporting. Things may be better than they were, but we are not out of the woods yet.