Nonprofit Accounting Basics

Workplace Connectivity Amid COVID

Note: Articles published before January 1, 2017 may be out of date. We are in the process of updating this content.

Oct 29, 2020

Sheila Amo

American Association of University Women

You’re a business leader. You’ve made the pivot. Your staff is working one hundred percent from home – and successfully I might add! You’ve prioritized health & safety and you have no plans to return to the office until significant societal strides at putting COVID-19 in the rear-view mirror have been made. What you didn’t fully consider is how challenging it is to manage in the time of a pandemic and the emotional toll it would take on your workforce.

In addition to shifting to online programming, organizations have found it necessary to place connectivity and wellness among its top priorities as they engage with and empower their people during this COVID era. Though some initially assumed it would be “business as usual,” only from your home office, the most successful leaders and organizations recognized the need to do more. They recognized the need to engage more purposefully, consistently and deeply. During this pandemic, enlightened leaders are being intentional in their approach to fostering connection and wellness at every level of the organization while establishing a new normal in a situation that no one anticipated. In short, they’re walking and chewing gum at the same time!

The time spent working remotely over the last seven months has, at times, proven to be isolating. Many find themselves in a groundhog’s day rut and may be feeling somewhat rudderless and disconnected. The daily routine of commuting, interacting with colleagues and frequenting a favorite juice bar are things we took for granted. And while working remotely offers some privileges, it also has a downside.

Some steps you can take to promote connectivity & wellness include:

  • Establish/maintain regularly scheduled all-staff meetings and check-ins, as required, to promote transparency and consistency.
  • Schedule occasional virtual social events to encourage connection on non-work matters.
  • Encourage socially distant in-person meetings (while wearing PPE, think of a park or a restaurant with outdoor seating).
  • Schedule and allow time for virtual wellness activities (yoga, guided meditation etc.).
  • Allow for flexibility in the work day, focusing on the successful and timely completion of projects.
  • Encourage employees to take time off for rejuvenation.
  • Administer surveys to solicit feedback on employee concerns and insights.
  • Promote the company’s employee assistance program (EAP).
  • Highlight mental healthcare coverage available via company’s medical provider.

Bottom line is that we’re living and working in extraordinary times. Dynamic leaders recognize this and have responded in ways that prioritize connectivity, transparency, health, safety and overall well-being, evoking in their workforce a true sense of value, respect and belonging.