How to keep in touch, communicate and put your employees and volunteers at the forefront during lockdown.
As we come to the end of the first week of our national lockdown, it can be easy to focus on how your charity is doing, how many beneficiaries are being reached, how sales are going, how to find solutions for fundraising etc. It can be easy to lose focus on the employees and volunteers yourcharity may see on a day-t0-day basis – in normal times, the key cogs to your activity.
I have comprised a list of ways to keep in touch, to communicate, to motivate and to help with their well being.
Remember a time before national lockdown when few people would be used to seeing themselves on screens? The nation has embraced video calls, whether that be with friends, families, colleagues, trustees, board members, beneficiaries or donators. Arrange regular group meetings or smaller team meetings with your employees and volunteers not to check up on thembut to check in with them.
Remember having typical water cooler chats? Now that people are working from home it can be easy to forget that in the office they have short breaks to chat to their colleague. Rather than expecting them to work themselves into the ground between 9 and 5, it’s important to make sure your employees and volunteer take regular breaks and have social space to chat with other colleagues. It could be with set ‘tea and coffee’ time, where zoom rooms can be set up for general watercooler chat, or you could label the rooms and set up book, film, music and sports clubs where staff can discuss what they’re enjoying at the moment.
Celebrate successes however large or small. In a time where we are in lockdown, the days are getting shorter and it can all seem doom and gloom, but it does not have to be that way. Celebrating success allows people to keep up-to-date with the goings on at the charity, keep perspective of what the charity is trying to do and to acknowledge people’s wins.
People still have career aspirations and life goals; this has not changed. As the feeling of being stuck in our homes sets in, it is important to make people realise they are not stuck in their job. Whilst finances may be short, think about other ways of helping people with their progress within the charity. Talk to your employees and volunteers in one-to-one meetings, make them feel appreciated and find out what they want. Is there more responsibility that can be given to them?
Do not track hours. Yes, it may be that people are supposed to work 9-5 but now they are working from home that may not be possible. Your staff may need to look after their children and they might only have one computer if their partner is also working from home. Allow your staff to be flexible where possible and trust that they are still working where they can, whether that be early mornings, late nights or split times.
Lastly, staff or work events. It may be that after a long day you just want to shut the laptop, but consider setting an evening aside to spend with your team, whether that be a virtual dinner and drinks, a virtual games night or a quiz night. It will have a positive impact on your team to know you care about them outside of work and it could be vital to those struggling with their mental health to know people are there and looking out for them.