7 Ideas to Support Your People & Company Culture During COVID-19
For any leader or HR manager, now is a critical time to provide support to your team and continue to nurture your company culture.
With people feeling displaced across the UK, it’s no surprise that a recent survey by the Society for Human Resources has found that 65% of employers feel that maintaining employee morale has been a challenge during the coronavirus pandemic.
Working from home isn’t easy, and during the crisis we are facing, keeping people engaged with your company, and productivity high, becomes a struggle for even the strongest company cultures.
To provide you with some help on how you can continue to support your team and keep your company culture strong, I’ve listed seven of my favourite ideas that could help you maintain a strong culture now and post-crisis.
1) Well-being packages
You know what they say – it’s the thought that counts. And when people are physically disconnected, a small gesture of kindness goes a long way.
Sending your team a small well-being package can make them feel valued and appreciated, and go a long way in helping them still feel connected to the company.
Many businesses we’ve seen who have adopted this, have taken it a step further by branding up the products, so it really feels like it’s from the company.
However, making these gifts more personalised can also help people to feel like they as individuals are being thought of. For example, sending someone a book if they really like reading, or perhaps including some dog treats for those who have furry companions.
It’s a small gesture, and no matter how you decide to create it, the fact that you did such an act of kindness during a crisis will be remembered for a long time.
2) Local lunch budget
By far, this is one of our favourite ideas, as it combines both people support and community support.
Offer your team a lunch budget where they have to spend it with a local or independent restaurant or shop so that you can continue to support local small businesses.
Having lunch on the business, not only saves them some money and time but putting it towards another small business locally, truly shows that as a business, you want to support both people and other businesses.
3) Mental health support
For those who experience mental ill-health this time of self-isolation and disconnection is going to be a severe struggle, which means as a team you need to have a strategy in place to support them.
If you don’t have any in-house mental health support, such as a mental health first aider, or a coach; providing third party resources such as helplines and videos from the Mental Health Foundation, and Mind, can help to give your team the useful lifelines should they need it.
Putting together a mental health pack for this time may also prove highly beneficial for your team. You could include tips and ideas on how to support mental health during this time.
My Mindfulness at Work eBook, is a free book you can download and pass on to your team, as this includes ideas on how to practice mindfulness to support mental health, as well as a list of books, videos, apps and podcasts.
4) Workspace budget
Many of our teams current workspaces are not ideal working environments. After all, many people have never had to work at home before, and few have the luxury of a private home office.
Add on top of this that they may be trying to juggle their children and work, means you’ve got a highly stressful and overwhelming work-life situation.
To support people who are working from home, a workspace budget can help people make a space at home where they feel more focussed and productive.
It could be a small budget that can help enhance their space, such as some plants and some headphones, or it could be a larger budget for a better desk and chair.
As there’s no certainty of when the lockdown will be lifted and when business will go back to ‘normal’, setting up a comfortable space for your team at home may prove highly useful in helping them be more productive and feel more comfortable working at home.
5) Water-cooler channels
One of the biggest things we all miss from being in a physical workplace is our colleagues and the general office chat.
As humans, we need human to human interaction, and trying to re-create this online is the best thing we can do right now to help people remain connected.
Creating a ‘water-cooler’ channel on Slack, Teams or even on Whatsapp, can give your team a space to discuss the fun stuff that’s going on at home away from the work updates.
By separating the social chat into a channel, people then don’t miss urgent work updates in the main task streams.
6) Well-being check-ins
We all approach situations differently, which means while some of us may be coping just fine during a crisis, there are others who may be truly struggling with the experience. And that’s completely understandable. We’ve never experienced anything like this before in our lifetime, and our emotions about this situation will be giving us a rollercoaster ride.
In order to truly support your team we would highly recommend a weekly wellbeing check-in with everyone, where they can chat about how things are going and how they are feeling. This isn’t a work chat; this is a how are doing chat!
If you have a large team, and can’t phone or video call everyone within the week, then create a buddy system, so everyone in the team has someone to call and check-in on.
7) Remote activities
All anyone is talking about right now is coronavirus. It’s on the news, it’s on social media, it comes up in every conversation and is dictating our lives.
To give your team a break from all the corona-conversations, and keep them connected, create fun online activities that everyone can take part in.
I recently listed some of the fun things you can do with your remote team, in this blog post, as there are so many great activities you can do that give people a happy break from all the negativity.
These are just seven simple ideas to help you nurture your company culture during this lockdown. If you need further help or advice, contact me about my company culture consultancy.