While the staggering death count and economic upheaval rightfully capture most of the attention, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic extend far beyond that. One of those less dramatic, but still important, effects that companies will soon need to address is how COVID-19 has impacted their company culture thus far, and how it will continue to impact their culture as employees return to the workplace.
The Impact of Isolation
With so many companies having to adapt to working from home, company culture may be impacted. The rapid shift to remote working, in many cases, while simultaneously homeschooling or watching your children, has caused significant anxiety for many. Some of us have been forced into working from home without having tools, systems, and an environment in place that is conducive to productive work. Gone are the friendly co-worker lunches, coffee breaks in the office, and friendly banter that come from working in an office environment.
Isolation can threaten an otherwise healthy workplace culture. Here are a few tips to help support your remote workers:
Ensure they have the tools in place for success. Offer to purchase tools that help employees effectively do their jobs, such as a second monitor screen, a phone headset, or even a networking app.
Work hard to stay connected. Try scheduling a regular check-in call or meetings. Start each meeting with a highlight from the weekend, or a work-related victory to encourage camaraderie.
The Impact of Layoffs
Many employers were forced to layoff or furlough staff during this difficult period. Turnover always causes ripples in the culture, but large scale turnover such as this is far more dramatic. According to the Harvard Business Review, downsizing “dampens survivors’ creativity,” leads to higher levels of stress, and a breakdown of the social networks within the company.
If your company had to furlough or layoff staff during this crisis, you’ll want to strengthen the confidence of the survivors.
Managers should increase their interactions with their teams. Reaching out to get employee input in decision making, instituting open door policies, and having a forum available for open communication is a good place to start.
The Impact of the Virus Itself
As employers prepare to return to the workplace, it will be imperative to provide their employees with a work environment that makes them feel safe and secure. Invest the time to think through safety measures, including marking safe distances, stocking up on hand sanitizer, and reminding employees that they have the option to work from home if they feel sick.
If employees question the effectiveness of their health safety protocols at work or the absence protocols, it will have a direct impact on your company culture. They need to feel safe and secure in the office. It’s important to put in the work to establish trust.
Executive Staffing Solutions
Our world-class team of managed care recruiters is here to help you through this difficult time of uncertainty. As your trusted partners in healthcare recruiting, please let us know if we can help.