HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsDealing with employees during COVID-19

Dealing with employees during COVID-19

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SUCCESS LIFE:Jonah Nyoni

WE are in tough times that are caused by COVID-19. There has to be a way a leader, manager, or supervises deals with workers. It’s no longer a normal setup. The workspace has changed. So, what should leaders do? Here are a few tips to keep you on top of the situation.

Understand the environment
Structurally, things have been affected both by policy and COVID-19. National policies have put some restrictions that affect things such as work times. Talking to an accounts manager who works in a retail shop, he pointed out that now he has to work without or minimal break time. There is a big workload that must be done within the short given time. Secondly, workers have to deal with the transport woes.

In an article published by the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance recently, it showed that most workers walk to and from work because of transport woes. So the leader has to be cognisant and considerate of the torrid times the Zimbabwean workers are going through.

Communication strategy
There has been a major digital shift that has changed how we communicate and consume media products. So, every company should have a strategic communication process to constantly raise awareness within the workforce. For example, a company could have a weekly convergence where they make an analysis that will later bring a corrective process if someone broke the COVID-19 rules. A company should have a COVID-19 policy document. At times managers and leaders might take things for granted and assume that people know or have heard about the effects of COVID-19, but that’s not always the case. A conscious and concerted communication strategy is always ideal.

Health and safety
Health and safety becomes a priority. COVID-19 has brought its fears within the workforce. COVID-19 has a dual effect; it affects the mind and could infect the body. Every employee is affected and that takes a leader who knows how to encourage his employees. Secondly, every health precaution must be followed. The government should be strict on seeing that companies uphold health measures. Also the leader should see to it that employees abide by the new needs. We should never take any chances.

Companies should also ensure that the fundamentals needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are provided. Fumigation should be done. Personal protective equipment (PPE) or clothing must be provided, and these include face masks and gloves. Social distancing and washing of hands should be upheld.

Stress management
COVID-19 as pointed earlier on brings stress to individuals. Secondly, companies are under stress as production has been significantly reduced in most sectors. Lack of normal production levels means loss of profit. This has led some companies to justifiably retrench some workers. This has come with more stress that cascades to the bigger family, especially when the breadwinner is pushed out of work.

Emotional intelligence
Hard times always seek leaders that are in tune with their own emotions. If you are under stress, how do you behave? Can you manage to control yourself before you send a command to your employees? Secondly, understand that people are under stress, so look for means to make them come up strong. Great leaders are those that exhibit a great sense of empathy. Employees need encouragement and leaders that are quick to read the mood and emotions must jump in and help.

Re-adjustment
Both the employee and the employer should now re-adjust to the new needs. Companies should retrain people on new internet technologies especially for communication and meetings as some people work from home. When change comes, we also must move. The worst companies now are those that will stick to the obsolete old models in trying to fight a new war. The employees should also up the game, learn every day. The internet has almost everything you need. YouTube is a university on its own. You can learn any new skill you want. Employees that will come tops in these times are the ones that are always eyeing the next bounce of the ball and seeking means of becoming better than where.

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