Your startup’s team may have been hard at work all through the length of the self-isolation imposed by the COVID-19 coronavirus. They may have kept in touch with other members of the team by email, video and teleconferences. Hopefully, they also have kept a positive attitude throughout the pandemic and kept their eyes on the prize in terms of reaching the business goals of the company.
But once it's safe to return to the normal workday world and the surroundings of an office, some refocusing of priorities and work habits may be necessary. If some members of your team seem to be withdrawn or have trouble focusing on the priorities of their jobs, here are some tips on how to try and return everything to as regular and productive a daily work routine as possible.
The pandemic was frightening. It turned the lives of your company and its employees upside down. People may not be able to snap right back into action after it’s over. But with the right approach, you can ease your team back into a unified pursuit of success for your startup.
It may be a small gesture, but it can mean a lot to team members that avoided dwelling on their fears to focus on the goals of the company. For some people with families, the effort of working from home took a real toll as they also had to juggle family responsibilities. Let them know you appreciate their efforts.
A 'welcome-back' lunch thrown by the company will allow people to re-engage with their co-workers and can ease a lot of the tensions that have built up over the self-isolation period. It serves to reinforce the team mentality and provides a forum where everyone can discuss their experiences and fears.
Let them know how the pandemic has affected the company goals. Meetings with investors may have had to be put off, and demonstrations may not have been finished. Create a list of tasks to accomplish in the aftermath of the pandemic and prioritise the list.
Employees may be trying to decide where they should start to continue work after the crisis. By creating a list of prioritised tasks, it will make it easier and more of a coordinated team effort to move forward in the right direction.
Every cloud has a silver lining. By having to work in such difficult circumstances in different locations, your company can learn something by seeing how effective your communication was during the pandemic.
As your startup becomes more successful over time, key people may have to travel and work out of the office more and more. The need for self-isolation was a good test for ironing out any glitches in your company’s ability to maintain effective and seamless communications.
Once your team returns to the office, this can be the gorilla in the room. Your team members will be wondering how the economic situation, post-pandemic will affect the company, and more to the point, their jobs and livelihoods.
As the entrepreneur and team leader, you have a duty to explain the situation truthfully and openly to your valued employees. Tell them right from the start about any pivots you see the company having to make in the near future to deal with the economic situation. And be sure to include their specific jobs in your plans, so they'll know exactly where they stand in the company and its future.