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Never has the focus on safety and wellness for you and your team been more important. At Judo Bank, safety and wellness is fundamental to our ability to steer the team safely through these troubled waters. We understand that not all SMEs have the benefit of a fully resourced HR function, so today, we’re sharing some insights from our HR team, on how to protect and nurture your people during these difficult times.

As people leaders, it has never been more important to check in on your team members and staff. Keep the lines of communication open. Times like these really highlight the employers who care – putting humanity ahead of profitability is a worthwhile intention, now more than ever.

Creating a fun and positive dialogue as we adjust to working in completely new and foreign ways – or for some, not working at all – can retain a sense of community and inclusivity. The onus is also on you as leaders to create a safe, open environment where your people can express their feelings, both personal and professional, without judgement or consequence.

These changes will orchestrate a shift between traditional employer-employee relationships, but in times of uncertainty, we must remain open to change. No matter how challenging.

When we establish a semblance of normality, focus can shift to recalibrating those relationships to align with a new normal. Some workplaces may never return to their pre-COVID selves, and in many ways that may not be a bad thing. This is an unexpected opportunity for businesses to make bold change, put people first, and overcome the long standing hangover of the industrial revolution that’s left us stuck in old ways of working that do not serve the business nor the employee.

How you can support your teams during COVID-19

1. Continuity and Contingency plans

Establishing continuity and contingency plans has never been more critical. Now is the time to address gaps in your processes.

  • Do you have an up to date record of ALL your employees personal ‘in case of emergency’ details?

  • Have you provided your team with information about counselling services, meditation apps, credible news sources (the Australian Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) app is excellent), changes to relevant company policies around health and safety, leave entitlements, tax and superannuation?

  • Do your staff know what to do if they experience;

    • technology fails / issues
    • an accident or incident at home
    • symptoms indicating Covid-19 or any other illness?
  • Difficulty setting up a suitable ‘working from home’ space?

  • Confusion around how to manage looking after children whilst simultaneously working

  • Sourcing appropriate childcare when working from home is not an option

  • Be sure to refresh policies and expectations around fair and equitable treatments in the workplace, vigilantly maintain a zero tolerance policy toward bullying or any form of discrimination and continue to insist that people remain kind, empathetic and understanding of all the various ways in which Coronavirus has derailed all of our lives.

2. Collaborate with your team

Open communication around what does and doesn’t work for each individual team member is key. Ask questions. Offer solutions. Establish the differences and similarities in your team’s work style, and set routines, guidelines and processes that allow for optimum performance, efficiency and wellbeing.

Make it clear that your team can speak up and express themselves if something isn’t working for them. Situations like these require a heavy dose of give and take – make sure your team know you’re on their side.

3. Good hygiene and physical distancing

Support your team to practice and maintain good hygiene and distancing at all times. Don’t assume people are across regulations and restrictions – many are avoiding news updates to manage their anxieties. Offer clear, succinct updates and advice on how best to comply, leaving the dialogue open for anyone to ask for extra support. Important to note is that it is now deemed socially and professionally appropriate, that wipes, hand wash and sanitiser be provided to all staff and customers, at all relevant points of contact. Our new reality determines that a failure to do so is a breach of common courtesy and indeed, common sense.

4. Wellbeing support

Ensure your teams are aware of your commitment to their wellbeing. Opening conversation on how everyone is really doing takes a weight off employees’ shoulders in itself. Just knowing that you understand where they’re at, and are ready to support them where possible, can make all the difference to not only their wellbeing, but the business’ as a whole.

Lead team stretching sessions, share mindfulness resources like Smiling Mind, set up team drinks and socialising sessions via Zoom or Microsoft Teams – anything you can to foster a sense of togetherness in a time when we all feel so ... socially distanced.

Judo Bank’s HR team engaged Working from Home and Working Smarter expert, Tina Paterson, to do a live webinar with the full team. With roles that would previously not have thrived in an offsite environment now thrust into the unknown of working from home, Tina’s insights gave real, practical tips to our teams on how to work smarter, not harder.

Remaining flexible and accommodating as an employer is key, too. Understanding that the usual 9-5 desk routine won’t be possible for some right now. Having young kids at home and juggling home schooling, having to share the load with another parent, or perhaps handle everything alone – it’s tough in so many ways.

Tina’s presentation helped both Judo teams and senior management approach the working day with a ‘smarter, not harder’ attitude, and instilled a sense of refresh into everyone’s work day

We hope these ideas will inspire you to try some new techniques with your teams this week.

Stay well!

The Judo Bank team.