With the initial rush of panic and stress of the crisis in the past, employees may be feeling drained and worn out to the point of feeling, or even being, useless. As workloads begin to pick up again the ability for your teams to produce quality work may be taking a hit.
Working from home should not mean always working. Employees often need not only direction on how to unplug and recharge but encouragement to do so. Not only have our commute times been eliminated but so have many planned vacations. With nowhere to go and a lot of usual summer activities being canceled, many people have canceled their time off as well.
It is important to be clear about your organizations current personal leave policy and communicate it well to the whole organization. The communication should state the company policy regarding personal and work travel, and the restrictions attached to returning back to the office if an employee does leave town. It is essential that you share resources with your team on government health guidelines currently in place.
Ease the detachment brought on by growing to-do lists and back-to-back meetings by redefining vacations and time off in your organization. Encourage your employees to use them for family time, caregiving, or self-care. Days off are likely to now be dedicated to supporting our mental health and family wellbeing than leisure or travel. These days give time to decompress and try new things – often time this supports creativity and productivity upon return to the office.
Office culture is often set by the leadership team and their actions. A workaholic culture is created when the leadership team does not take days off. Encouraging your employees to take time off is less impactful than showing them. As leaders in the company it is important to model the behavior and lead by example. Set strong communication boundaries for yourself and try sharing what you did during your day off. It is important to not only use the vacation days, but truly step away from work on those days.
Your employees are truly your greatest asset. When they feel not only supported but encouraged to take time off, unplug, and reset the benefits will show throughout the company.