The shockwave of the COVID-19 pandemic is being felt worldwide. Many employees feel the financial pinch of limited hours or reduced pay, and the mental pressure of mitigating the fallout from this health crisis. Unsurprisingly, the World Bank estimates that the pandemic will plunge most countries into a recession in 2020, with per capita income reducing in the most considerable fraction of countries globally since 1870.  Business owners everywhere are doing all they can to keep their business viable and support their employees in any way possible in the new normal.   
Human Resource departments have a myriad of additional issues to consider at the moment. Assisting employees with strategies to manage this anxiety-driven period may be instrumental to employee engagement and retention. Here we have included some ways that you can support your employees during the new normal.

Support mental health

Even during this time of uncertainty and upheaval, the integral role that human resources plays within a company remains the same: to support employees and ensure that the working environment is safe and conducive to productivity.  Never has there been a time more critical to support your employee’s mental health, especially without having face-to-face contact. Check in with employees, and invest more resources into listening to employees concerns and being proactive about offering flexibility.

Set boundaries

While many employees work from home, the lines between personal and professional life can easily be blurred.  Ensure both management and employees set clear boundaries about when and how communication should happen.  No one should be expected to be available outside of regular working hours or pushing their work beyond what they would do if in the office.  By prioritizing and modeling self-care, you will encourage retention and limit employee burn-out.

Educate yourself about financing

Employees might need to reconsider their household budget, especially if the earning capacity for those living under the same roof has decreased. The UK National Statistics Office recently reported that nearly one quarter of adults have admitted the pandemic affected their family’s finances, with a reduction in income, and savings accounts used for living costs while struggling to make ends meet.  So how can an employee quickly find financing during the pandemic?
It may be worthwhile advising your employees to look into various options now before the immediate need arises and recommending they apply for a title loan to take care of their expenses incurred during the lockdown and thereafter. Note that it is also feasible for them to apply for a title loan without a bank account, even if their credit rating is currently low. Recommend shopping for low interest rates and realistic repayment terms.
 

Pursue employee feedback

There is no book written about how to support employees during a pandemic, and as a result, everyone is figuring it out as they go. What you can do is be open to the continuous adjustment by requesting feedback from your employees and genuinely listening to their grievances and requests.

Say thank you

With so many employees working from home or on flexible hours, standard company acknowledgment and affirmation channels may quickly go by the wayside; yet, now is the time to ramp up the acknowledgment that you offer your employees.  Recognize the contributions and sacrifices that your employees are making while simultaneously managing increased pressures at home. Be creative by offering additional perks such as home coffee and lunch delivery or other services, making working from home more enjoyable and productive.
The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic in today’s society means that everyone, from human resource departments to managers to every employee, needs to quickly adjust to new ways of working while simultaneously mitigating the changes and stressors that are popping up in their home lives.  Human resource departments need to entwine their past experience along with protocols in the ‘new normal’ to ensure employees continue to be protected and valued.

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