Over the course of the last year, we have all had to learn how to be better. The Coronavirus pandemic unleashed a tidal wave of unexpected challenges in both our personal and professional lives.
From furloughing employees to arranging shopping deliveries for shielding relatives, we were forced to juggle so many responsibilities that at times it seemed impossible to find a balance. To simply keep our heads above water. But with that added pressure came some important discoveries. We all found strength and resilience within ourselves, we learned how to communicate better, and how to talk honestly about how we were doing and what we needed.
As we move ahead into the summer and beyond, it feels like things are going back to normal. While it is clear that things could very well end up in another lockdown if we’re not careful, slowly but surely, we are seeing a return to how life used to be before any of us had even heard of COVID-19.
But there is still so much uncertainty, so many unknowns and it is vital that we take the lessons that we have learned from this time to make sure that our businesses continue to move forward, not back. Here are a few tips to help you to be a better boss for your company and your employees in the coming months.
Think About What Has Been Working
It is so easy to paint the entirety of 2020 in shades of doom and gloom, and with good reason. There are a lot of people out there who aren’t in the fortunate position of planning how to improve their businesses in the coming months. Instead, they are mourning their closure.
If you made it through the last year in one piece, then the chances are that you and your team struck on some good strategies for how to keep the business and each other going. As you plan ahead, take stock of your performance over those months and see where you and your employees encountered challenges and found ways to overcome them. Maybe flexible working hours have allowed certain team members to find the times at which they are most productive. Maybe working remotely has led to some team members discovering new skills which have allowed them to progress in unexpected paths. Maybe you all actually communicated more when working remotely than you did when you worked in an office, which brings us to our next point…
Don’t Stop Communicating
One of the biggest challenges we all faced when the pandemic first hit was learning how to work from home. We all had to figure out how we were going to continue to work seamlessly as a team and keep lines of communication open even as so many of them were closed to us. But we pulled together, and we got there.
Now that things are going back to normal, it is imperative that we maintain those channels of communication. Make sure that you continue to find new ways for your employees to voice their opinions and concerns, and that you continue to offer open forums and brainstorming sessions to make sure that everyone is getting the chance to contribute. Creativity is going to be just as crucial as hard work in the months to come if you want to stay ahead, so it is vital that you find ways to foster that in your team.
Of course, it’s not all about the work. Every manager has become much more aware of how mental health affects their employees during the pandemic, and how it affects them. We have all learned how to be more understanding and more patient, and it is very important that your employees feel like they can talk to you if they are struggling.
Keep Looking For New Ways To Learn
It felt like we all got a crash course in a lot of different things that we needed to pick up very quickly in 2020. From running team meetings remotely to scheduling morale-boosting Friday night recreational activities, to virtual project management and social media, skill sets that we may have handed off, or indeed brought in a new employee to develop, were suddenly our responsibility. As overwhelming as that may have felt at times, it certainly made us more capable and confident. That is absolutely something that we need to continue to explore moving forward.
With the marketplace as competitive as it currently is, we all need to be working twice as hard to make sure that we are getting the most from what we already have. One of the most effective ways of making sure that you stay ahead of the curve and find new ways to maximize your business’ value is by educating yourself. There are more opportunities to learn remotely than there ever have been. A course where, for example, you can understand value capture in your business is a great way for you to keep pushing your business forward in these extremely challenging times.
Don’t Neglect New Technology
When we all started working from home, most of us picked up our laptops and smartphones and simply made do. Some of us still don’t have a proper office space and are working from our dining room table. Well, first we would suggest that you take the time to invest in proper office equipment to make sure that you don’t do any lasting damage to your spine by slouching through another day.
We would also suggest that you make a real effort to stay abreast of the latest tools and technologies for remote office working. Even if you do decide to return to the office following lockdown restrictions, it seems highly likely that at least some members of your team will continue to work from home. With that in mind, you need to think a little bigger than the team WhatsApp group and the weekly Zoom meeting. A good project management software will allow everyone to keep a careful eye on progress and timekeeping, eliminating those tricky moments where things can fall through the cracks.
Help Your Employees Work Smarter And Safer
We mentioned new technology but simply paying for a new software isn’t enough. You need to make sure that your employees know how to use it. Given that your IT head can’t spend the morning going from desk to desk updating everyone’s operating system right now, you need to make sure that your employees have enough time to get to grips with any changes. If training is required, make sure that they feel supported to work on these new skills.
It is also becoming increasingly important to help your team understand the security risks that every business faces in 2021. We are sure that the drastic rise in cybercrime attacks over the course of the pandemic won’t have escaped your attention, as crooks have taken advantage of a lot more people spending a lot more time online without the proper training or software to protect their sensitive information. With that in mind, set some time aside to brief your employees on what they can do themselves to cut down the risk of any security breaches, and help them to install a good security system on their home computers.
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