The global Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. Traditional socializing and working practices are off the table in many industries, including that of law and attorneys, with social distancing now the new normal. In short, we’re living through something unimaginable a few short months ago. Even though for many of us, it’s been around two months with quarantine rules and limits on our working and family lives, it doesn’t mean we’re used to it or that it’s easy.
When it comes to your work life, it’s essential to keep your staff, or team motivated during the crisis. The way to do that can vary depending on the industry you’re in and how spread-out your team is. It also depends on what the goals of your business. Attorney Kelly Hyman has found some practices that can work across all sectors and scenarios to show you care about and want to support your staff, while also encouraging positive business outcomes.
Show your team you accept the current situation
One cause of stress among your team members – in addition to their concerns about the virus and regular work-stress – can be that they’re unsure precisely what your view of the pandemic is and also, what are your work expectations. By showing that you 100% accept the pandemic is real and, affecting people and limits the ability to ‘work as normal’ you’re taking away one stressful element from your team’s situations.
Once your team realizes you’re in this with them, they should begin to feel less stressed, more willing to communicate with you, and less worried about all the work tasks they can’t do. Instead, they will be more able to channel their energy into doing the work they can manage. Also, some will be able to problem-solve more effectively to gain traction in other, trickier areas of their workload.
Schedule regular virtual catch-ups
Finding a way to keep a consistent team and one-on-one communication line, either by phone or some form of video conferencing (but not too regular!) will help maintain that close team and encourage everyone to remain motivated in the face of a heavy workload.
For busy attorneys like Kelly Hyman, she has had remote staffers on their team, and now is the time to include them in these scheduled catch-ups. The added dynamic of the coronavirus will likely be the cause of additional anxiety and stress, which could restrict their ability to work effectively, or even function happily at home when they’re not working.
Recognize anxiety manifests in many different ways
If a member of your team who’s usually pretty laid back, begins to show more energy and a higher work rate, you might want to check in with them. While it’s great they’re getting on with their work and supporting your team and business goals, this could be a sign of increased anxiety – and that’s not a positive mental health marker.
On the flip side, a previously energetic and capable staff member may seem lethargic and as though they’re struggling. Again, this could also be a sign of anxiety.
If you notice something different about a member of your team, it’s worth taking the time to give them a brief phone call to make sure they’re doing ok. Sure, you’re delighted they’re pulling their weight and supporting your efforts to achieve targets. However, the longer-term effects of this period of surplus energy – or lack of it – could be to the detriment of their mental health. By highlighting that early on, you’re helping your team member/s through this tough period and looking out for their long-term well-being.
Practice what you preach
While looking out for your staff and being more understanding through the pandemic is excellent business and management practice, you also need to remember about yourself. Self-care is something that many driven businesspeople don’t always adhere to – that’s something Kelly Hyman, an attorney and media commentary, understands. But at times of extreme uncertainty, it’s essential to look after yourself as well as thinking of others.
If you forget to take some time out to consider how you’re doing, you might also miss signs in your team that they’re not coping.
As continue through this uncertain period, we must be doing everything we can to help make sure we emerge from it as optimistic as possible. Practising self-care and looking out others will go a long way in achieving that goal and also keeping your team motivated and positive.