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  • Laila Datoo

7 ways to support your people through lockdown - the how, why and when!

Now we are in the middle of our second lockdown we know what we are doing right?

We’ve learnt the lessons and changed things that didn’t work from the first-time round, so everything is working smoothly, right??

Except we are all even more fed up now. Over the isolation or home schooling (depending on your situation), over the lack of connection with colleagues but the over connection online.

Are you and your team facing these challenges?

Those who are working are feeling overwhelmed with the extra work and pressure.

Those are still furloughed feel anxious and uncertain about when this will end.

And in all of that many managers feel that the support that they can offer their teams is limited – what else can they do now and what impact will it actually have?

I’m here to tell you there is so much you can do to offer support to your teams – and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time.

Like so many well-being initiatives and practices these can be integrated into your daily working life once you find the rhythm and you create the intention.

Here are 7 ways you can support your team that don't cost much time or money and have BIG impact.

1. Recognise your staff are looking to you for support and not necessarily the answer

You don’t need to have all the answers – simply letting your team know you are there can be enough to encourage and support them. Sometimes all people need is an ear, not a solution.

2. Keep the communication open

Many of my clients have adopted a ‘virtual open door session’ - a few hours on a quiet afternoon – often a Friday - when staff can pop into a zoom meeting or slack channel to ask questions, have a chat and simply connect. It can really help to have an informal communication channel open so that people feel they can have a non-judgemental chat.

3. Find out what your team want

It’s worth checking in with people on their personal situation as it may have changed from the last lockdown. Some people have created bubbles, have more or less support and childcare, are finding isolation harder or easier.

Once you know how and when employees want to be contacted and kept in touch with, do your best to meet that and always explain if you have your own challenges (you may be home schooling or caring for parents yourself) – being open is best as everyone is going through this together.

4. Trust your staff

Everyone has been working from home for months now- so instead of focusing on tasks and to do lists, show your staff you trust them to do their work and adopt a results focused approach.

Create a weekly check in on team results and celebrate the wins together so everyone can feel part of the success.

5. Offer an external ear

Bringing in the support of a coach who can be an independent ear is a great way to help individuals feel they are progressing in their goals even in what feels like a stagnant time. Often people want to feel like they are still developing themselves and their careers and it may not be possible in the expected ways right now through promotion or pay rises – so how else can your team be encouraged to develop their skills and abilities? Coaching is a great way of identifying and supporting this.

6. Create connection and community spirit

It can feel challenging to keep up with all the zoom socials that were started in the first lockdown and I would encourage you to think of how the business can support this as a collective. If your company had a social committee pre-COVID-19, can they be tasked with coming up with social activities or can you give ownership to someone who has more time than others so it’s not all on you?

And can you be creative with the socials you have – Friday zoom drinks and pub quizzes can get tiring after 8 months so what other ways can you create connection?

We may be here for a long time, not just a good time 😆

Many teams went full on with the team activities in the Lockdown 1.0 – and the enthusiasm and motivation can be hard to keep up. Instead of fixed sessions and one offs, how can you create a community where teams support each other?

Think small, regular injections of team spirit that is accessible to everyone.

This could look like….a weekly prompt on a Monday for people to share…

- A selfie or a photo around a theme during the week

- The best Netflix programmes people are watching

- How many steps are you taking

- The best meme you’ve seen this week

By making it more fluid and not at a set time, it becomes something people can get involved in when it works for them (and fit around family/ work/ school) as well as providing some fun outside of the work setting to bring people together.

7. Above all - are you taking care of yourself so that you can support your people?

When we feel engaged, rested and motivated we can be more available to our teams and give them the encouragement they need.

The common response of 'I don’t have time’ doesn’t stand up anymore- particularly in the time of C-19 when we have no commute but more work, less time with more work AND more time with no socials -our whole world us upside down.

Whether you believe you have the time or not, it’s essential to MAKE the time because when our oxygen mask is on securely, we can help others. Or even more simply put, if we feel good we are nicer humans to those around us (your teams can thank me later!)

What's your biggest take away from this? And what's one thing you can do straight away to make you feel good? As always drop me an email or find me on social and let me know!


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