As most employees everywhere are working from home full-time due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a lot of people are experiencing anxiety and stress more than ever. It comes from all sides: work and home, too much work or too little, project deadlines and health concerns. While you can never eliminate it, you can take steps to help keep it under control. If you manage a team at work, you should examine how well you take these critical steps to help your team cope.
People have different capacities for work. Some of your team members generally thrive with more to do, while others struggle under the weight of higher workloads. At some point, though, we all reach our limits. Each week you should be looking at how much you have tasked each of your employees with accomplishing. Break each project down to understand what you are asking of your team. If you let things go, your team will lose its balance, and eventually its effectiveness. Be ready to adjust when needed.
It can be too easy for managers to assume no news is good news, and to assume your team members have the same understanding as you. Almost all workplaces can benefit from more communication. Let team members know when they need to improve, and when they are doing well. Give them the information they need to succeed and let them know if you are looking for answers but do not have them yet. Organize more video calls than ever to let the team feel connected. The more you can communicate over time, the less fear of the unknown your team accumulates. People can focus on doing their jobs, rather than on what they are trying to understand.
Now that most people have been mandated to work from home, and urged to remain indoors, even during a lunch break, there might be little to no movement. Your people may sit at desks all day, with limited exercising options. If you encourage people to stand, stretch, and walk, it can keep them fresher physically and mentally. It improves circulation and overall fitness. Virtual yoga, meditation or fitness sessions organized by the company can go a long way for the employees. It helps make the rest of the day more efficient and improves the quality of both your team members' lives and their productivity.
Break Up the Day
Finally, one source of stress at working from home is monotony. If people don't get breaks during their days, by the end of the day they are losing both energy and patience. Take time during the day to organize at least two virtual coffee breaks with your team members, not just to talk about work but to talk and laugh with them. Put something in each day that focuses on something besides the tasks at hand. Your team members will appreciate it.
Stress may be inevitable, but you can take steps to minimize the worst effects it produces. A great manager focuses on his or her team's needs over time. Cutting stress can improve productivity, retention, and morale. Work to make sure your team can relax along the way.