It seems like almost overnight, the face of the American workplace has drastically changed. Due to the potential spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), employees are being forced to distance themselves from one another. Gone are the days of gathering at the water cooler to catch up on the latest gossip.
Crowded lunchrooms are now deserted as workers eat alone in fear of becoming infected. There has been a lot of talk in the news about working from home, but for some businesses, that is not an option. In response to the crisis at hand, companies are finding unique ways to keep their current workforce motivated.
Dealing with the Coronavirus in an office setting
Keeping employees focused and productive is no easy task these days. Some have children that are suddenly found at home with no school to attend. Others are worried about their aging parents or relatives that are at a higher risk of becoming ill.
Despite these distractions, there is work that still needs to be done in the office. It is left up to the management staff to offer a positive demeanor and not show any outward signs of panic. Employers need to keep their workforce informed of any changes in policy to alleviate the spread of inaccurate rumors.
It is also the responsibility of the management team to only share information that is provided by the CDC and WHO and not offer speculation about the Coronavirus pandemic.
Showing compassion to employees
Employers need to be sympathetic to the unexpected plight that some of their workforce may find themselves in. Workers need to have the flexibility to handle their changing responsibilities at home, without fear of losing their jobs.
Employers need to encourage their staff to engage in frequent handwashing and to keep their work areas sanitized for the safety of the entire office. If an employee feels ill or begins to show signs of Coronavirus symptoms, they should be encouraged to go home and seek medical attention. The safety of the entire workforce is of the utmost importance as the virus continues to spread across the country.
Unique ways to keep employee morale up
Despite the pending feeling of gloom and doom, many offices are finding unique ways to keep up employee morale. Hand washing competitions and tissue box decorating contests have become the new norm.
Some employers have found it useful to bring in medical industry experts to talk to their staff about the facts surrounding the pandemic, to dispel any anxieties and misconceptions their workers may be feeling. Other companies have instigated viral dance parties to allow remote co-workers the chance to socialize.
What companies are doing to keep employees motivated
It is especially important, during this difficult time, to make sure employees feel appreciated. Letting them know that their work is valued and helping to keep the company running, is a great motivational tool. Money is also a great motivator.
To let employees know how important their contribution is to the success of the company, Amazon has granted its entire workforce a salary increase to meet the ongoing demands of the company. Google and Apple are granting paid sick leave to any employee that may have symptoms of the virus so that they may self-quarantine with the assurance of a pending paycheck.
To encourage his employees to support local small businesses, Mark Cuban, of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, is paying for all of the lunch and coffee purchases made by his employees. Starbucks understands the strain this crisis is taking on its employeesand is offering free mental health benefits for its workforce and their immediate family members. Disney has closed its parks worldwide but is continuing to pay its employees. Facebook gave a $1,000 bonus to each of its employees to help them survive during these trying times.
Companies, regardless of size, are finding unique ways to keep their workforce engaged and motivated. Contact us if you need assistance in developing a plan that will work for your team.