Leaders everywhere have had a really challenging few weeks – as they have had to rapidly adapt to a completely changed way of working for many. Coupled with managing their own domestic challenges (how much do we appreciate teachers now?), becoming masters at video conference platforms and generally coping with their own new normal.
We have spoken to many leaders who are finding themselves suffering from “zoom fatigue” and are worried about what happens when demand increases, teams come off furlough and productivity levels have to increase to cope.
For many it is an exciting thought but also one that creates some level of concern.
Mindset Leadership have put together our top 10 tips for thriving, not just surviving in the next phase:
- Keep check in’s happening.
When the demands increase it is easy to perhaps lapse on the check in’s that have become such a feature of the lockdown – let’s not lose the human touch
2. Prioritise essentials
Accept that you will not be able to achieve as much as you previously did – working remotely adds a level of complexity that is not always easy to overcome. Focus on what is critical for customer / operational success.
- Minimise non-essential changes:
You might have a whole host of ideas and potential improvements – however, don’t overload yourself or our team with too much – allow yourself to bed into the new ways of working and cope with essential change before taking on extra.
- Support those who “fear” returning to work
Many of us might be excited by the prospect of our offices or places of work re-opening. Not everyone feels this way. A big proportion of the workforce will have genuine concerns – take time to listen and support them through this.
- Watch out for the potential impacts of mental health related challenges
Mental Health charities are all reporting a dramatic reduction in calls / support – they know it has not gone away but is perhaps masked by concerns for C19. As we start to increase our working levels be on the lookout for any potential signs.
- Integration of furloughed teams back into the workplace needs careful planning
There is a real risk attached to furloughed employees coming back. Many who have worked throughout typically have been really busy. With the beautiful weather and social media there may be some “underlying disgruntlement” from some who were not furloughed. Equally those who were on furlough might have potential resentment for those who were not – the sense of injustice or unfairness in decisions made rapidly may now come to light.
It is critical that everyone is recognised for the part they have played in helping your business – this includes people who were furloughed as much as those who worked through
- Holiday Planning
Many companies have asked people to take holiday during the lockdown. This makes sense. However, very few people will feel like they have had a holiday – they will not feel rested because of the pressure of C19. Just because the holiday record shows it does not mean they have benefitted from it.
Think carefully about reactions to holiday requests in this next period
Be very careful about how we describe the situation. I was discussing plans with one of our clients and they inadvertently described people on furlough as having had a “break”. The same client also wanted to do a company announcement praising those who had continued to work because they had worked so hard to “cover” for others.
Be really careful in our choice of language – check your own biases too.
- The change back will be harder than the start of lockdown
Just like the government warns us of the coming down the mountain analogy as we eased lockdown so many will be fooled that getting back into workplaces will be easier than the shift to home working. It won’t – it will be significantly harder.
When we went into lockdown new habits were forced on us and we had no choice. Returning is going to balance new habits with old, and some will be changed – this is much harder for us to navigate at a habit level and will lead to far more inconsistency of performance. We need to help our teams through this.
- Practice Self Care
There is a real risk as demand increases that many leaders will take the brunt of this firmly on their own shoulders because they don’t want to demand too much of others. The risk of already strained leadership cracking under this increased pressure is significant. Eating well, exercising, sleeping well and managing hours to ensure that there is the right harmony in your life is more critical than ever for leaders now – you can’t help others if you aren’t helping yourself. Place your own oxygen mask on before you assist others – this is more important than ever.