The Covid-19 pandemic has created several challenges that are putting pressure on organisations and their employees, and these can take a serious toll on physical and mental health, which is why leaders and top management need to be kind in their approach and decision making, said James Michael Lafferty, CEO of Fine Hygienic Holding.
Speaking at the Remote Workforce Summit 2020, Lafferty shared his insights on how his company had responded during the pandemic and the resulting weeks of lockdown.
"At a time when many companies were focused on survival, we embraced a different view," he said. "We asked ourselves not how we can survive, but how we can thrive. Towards this end, we identified four key remote working principles."
The first principle revolved around leadership, he explained. "People take their cues from a leader, so it is important for one to stay calm and dignified. There have been times and sleepless nights when I have been under extreme pressure, but I made sure that the people who work with me never saw this."
The second revolved around what Lafferty described as the 'slow dance' technique of communication. "It is your responsibility to be available. I write to our people every day to update them, and it doesn't always have to be about business. You can share a good motivational quote and even jokes. Let people see you so that they feel at ease."
Thirdly, he pointed out that remote working is much harder than organisations actually thought it to be. The lines between work and home are extremely blurred. On top of this, the stress that employees are facing because of the pandemic is tremendous; which is why managers have to be kind in their approach.
"You don't know the stress that an employee is facing because they might be at home with an elderly parent or with young children, so it is your responsibility to take that into account," Lafferty said. "Lastly, keep your focus on a post-corona world. Don't underestimate the power of hope."