COVID-19 disrupted our work culture. Even most dynamic and agile organizations took time to adjust to uncertain situation. But some acted fast and did their best to ensure safety of their team and keep the business running. After the first wave of COVID-19, many businesses are now opening up. But the threat from COVID-19 has not gone away. Now the biggest challenge for organizations and manager is that how to manage your team during COVID-19 

Based on the experience of lockdown time, management experts are now able to suggest best methods and ways to manage team during COVID-19.  

Some of the effective ways are as follows: 

Communicate regularly

Any uncertain situation is depressing and creates anxiety. Communication is the best way to address anxiety caused by fear of unknown. Good manager communicates frequently and regularly with their team even they do not have much to share with the team. Through regular communication team members know each other’s problems and exchange views on solutions. 

It is difficult to communicate with your team when they are working remotely. But this is the role of a good manager and leader to find ways and means to keep communication channels open while working in the time of social distancing. The good news is that technology is available and new communication tools for video conference calls are available during lockdown time which will help us to maintain frequent communication among team members.

Choose the best communication tools 

For effective and efficient communication, you need best communication tools which serve the needs of your team. Since most of team members are working remotely now a day so organizations should invest in purchasing good internet packages for employees and also communication tools like ZOOM, SKYPE, Microsoft Teams as per need of your team.  

You can install advanced video conference equipment at your workplace to minimize the impact of remote working. Experts suggest that software and hardware should be installed which are easy to install and use. 

Boost morale of your team 

Humans are not machines and they are not meant to work alone at home. Getting out of home and spending time at workplace is often a fun. We get a lot of positive energy from our workplace. It is quite natural that morale and motivation of team goes down when they are asked to work from home for long time. 

During this time, it is job of managers and leaders to boost morale of his/her team. They must know the emotional needs of their team and reach out to every member of their team on regular basis to lift their spirits. 

Flexible expectations 

Most of workers have no experience of working in social distancing. They work in a team and need each other’s support for completion of tasks. They share resources and collaborate to get their day to day tasks. It is altogether a different situation for them to sit in their homes and deliver same work for which they are dependent on others. 

Social distancing and work from home has negative impact on their productivity. In order to keep the business and work alive, managers and leaders need to reset expectations from their team. New situation demands flexibility in targets and expectations. The solution lies in revising targets and expectation with consent of all team members and focusing on results instead of working methods.  

Inject optimism 

COVID-19 induces fear. It is about health and about losing job. This situation is nothing less than a perfect recipe for pessimism. Nobody can work with maximum productivity in this pessimistic situation. 

But in this testing time, optimism is the only value which leaders and managers should inject in their team. First they should be optimistic that the situation will improve soon and business will come back on normal. It will be easy then to pass this through to their team. During regular conversation with their team they should consciously talk optimistically and their body language should also match to what they are saying. They should talk about the positive sides of the situation and avoid getting into useless and pessimistic discussion.  

Online opportunities to build capacity of team  

Social distancing at workplace and lockdown situation gives learning opportunity for employees. This time can be better utilized by building capacity and new skills. This can be easily done without compromising social distancing. There are many online training opportunities to improve or build new skills to perform better at work.

Leaders and managers’ role is to encourage their teams to take online training courses. It is also a great opportunity for organizations to chalk out a training plan for each of their employee. It will keep them busy and motivated. And human resource of an organization will be equipped with more skills and knowledge.

Explore for the future

Although there are good chances that the world will eventually beat this COVID-19 and the businesses will come back to normal routine. But the impact of this crisis will stay with organisations. There will be new culture of work in post COVID-19 work. For instance, remote work will become a new normal. New technologies and operational methods will replace the old technology and practices. 

One of good ways to manage this uncertain situation is to push your team to explore different business opportunities in the future. How your team will adjust in the new situation? This will make your team relevant for the future. And biggest advantage is that you will actually lift your team from downward spiral of negative emotions during the tough time of COVID-19. 

Create a system of mutual support 

It is difficult for managers and leaders to understand and address emotional problems of every member of team. They can shift this responsibility by creating a system of peer support. Two to three team members can be grouped together and share responsibility of taking care of each other in this testing time. 

By this way team members will stay connected with each other and they will not feel isolated and alone.  This peer support team can make their own work plan and include tasks which helps them avoid stress and negative emotions. The only job of manager is to monitor whether these groups are working or not and what is feedback and how to further improve this system. 

Take Home Points

  • Today the biggest challenge for any manager and leader is how to manage your teams during COVID-19;
  • Frequent communication with your team is the key to manage your team in any testing times;
  • The primary role of a leader especially in emergency situation is to boost morale of your team;
  • It is the time to revisit the expectations from your team; 
  • A true leader should always be optimistic and inject same positivity in his/her team;
  • Finding out more opportunities about business and acquiring new skills and knowledge is the best way to stay focused and optimistic about the future; 
  • A system of mutual support team among members and peers is an effective way to take care of each others during the present challenging times.