How Managers Can Support Employee Well-being During a Pandemic

Provide Emotional Support

  • Discussing what work-life integration means to team members. There will likely be a wide variety of life situations and individual priorities within the team, and having an opportunity to share those things with each other brings the team closer together.
  • Blocking out time in your weekly virtual team meetings for employees (who are comfortable doing so) to share life updates and any known conflicts that might affect the team.
  • Reinforcing to your employees that you are sympathetic and that you’ll maintain an open-door policy (virtually) for them to talk things through when needed.

Serve as a Role Model

  • Making sure you (manager/supervisor) stay up-to-date on safety and public health COVID-19 responses relevant to your team, discuss impacts to your business practices with upper leadership, and regularly inform your team of any changes to project timelines, activities and priorities as a result.
  • Defining your own boundaries and preferences regarding work hours, response times, and disclosure around family obligations. Then, projecting a consistency in your ability to adhere to these boundaries.
  • Using paid time off and sick leave when needed, and encouraging your staff to do the same, or help your staff to find state and national level resources to assist with leave.

Provide Instrumental Support:

  • Setting regular 1:1 check-ins and external deadlines for your employees, while encouraging them to take control over when and how they perform their required tasks.
  • Identifying when an employee seems overwhelmed, and clarifying work priorities by focusing them on the critical few.
  • Listening to employees’ work-life conflicts and creatively brainstorming solutions with them.

Engage in Creative Work-Family Management

  • Asking team members to identify days they are not available due to personal or other commitments. Take into consideration flexible work options and make sure team members are aware of each other’s schedules and availability to enable them to switch shifts if needed.
  • Identifying team activities/projects that have flexible deadlines in case an unexpected life conflict occurs.
  • Considering (and expressing empathy for) your staff’s new work-life conflicts. They are counting on you to understand the current landscape and let them know which of their ongoing tasks should be paused and which should be prioritized.
  • Establishing email and meeting guidelines and defining clear expectations for when and how staff should track their work, share updates, and turn in assignments. Having consistent, streamlined processes and templates will reduce employees’ cognitive and logistical burdens.

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