The management of employees during a pandemic requires an additional level of skill and understanding that has business owners and managers scrambling to ensure that they have obtained this skill set. The considerations on how to schedule employees, whether or not the position can be completed remotely and how to keep both employees and customers safe are things that can keep people up at night. Like everyone explains, this is a "fluid" situation and daily they are new rules, suggestions and regulations. So what is a business owner or manager to do? Here are three easy ideas for success.
First, instill in your employees the idea that this whole process will be a delicate balance between safety and service. Don't silence them with mandates but rather encourage them to "trouble shoot" how they can do their job safely. It is one thing to think through the regulations from a management perspective and quite another to actually implement them. Often your front line employees will create the best solutions for how you can serve the client while at the same time keeping everyone safe. Some of your best safety experts may be your own employees so don't shut them out. Listen to their ideas and implement those that make sense.
Second, understand that everyone in the process is nervous, anxious or scared including you. If you and your staff are weary or nervous this will automatically be transmitted to your clients. Find ways to empower your employees to take control of their mental health. It can be something as simple as talking about apps that can allow them to calm their minds or taking a few minutes before the start of the day to talk about issues that they are facing. In a pandemic, mental health is just as important as physical health.
Third, don't be afraid of remote positions. Does your bookkeeper really need to drive in to the office everyday if she is using a successful software application? Can you afford to let employees work from home, even if it is a couple of days a week? Can you revise your business physical structure to space out clients? All of these are things that can be considered to create a successful business environment.
This is the time to think outside of the box. This is a time to find business models that work in this kind of environment. Make your employees members of your team and encourage them to help you to keep your business running. If they see that they are an active part of the process it is one more tool to make your business operate successfully.