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Pandemic Takes a Toll on Employees’ Emotional Well-Being – SHRM, by Lin Grensing-Pophal, Apr 7, 2020

5 Ways Emotional Intelligence Can Help Us Through the Coronavirus Crisis – Fast Company, by Harvey Deutschendorf, Mar 19, 2020

Empathy, Leadership and the Coronavirus – Ohio State University, by Nicholas Salter, PhD
How Working Parents Can Prepare for Coronavirus Closures – Harvard Business Review, by Stewart D. Friedman & Alyssa F. Westring, Mar 10, 2020
What Are Other Companies Doing? – People Element, by Megan Younkin, Apr 14, 2020
The Power of Empathy in a Crisis Situation – People Element, by Megan Younkin, Mar 30, 2020

COVID-19 Workplace Best Practices: Employee Connection

Things continue to change quickly as each day passes.  Every day, more cities and states move to institute Stay-At-Home orders.  Just 5 minutes ago, I received an alert on my phone notifying me of the order to stay at home starting tomorrow morning.  All this change and uncertainty can create feelings of stress, anxiety, confusion and fear.   More than ever, people need to feel a connection, and there are things we can do as leaders, managers, coworkers and friends to help create a connection.


Feeling connected can help us feel a sense of belonging, shared empathy, care, and feeling wanted and needed. At a time like this, that connection is necessary regardless of whether your workforce is normally remote, transitioning to remote, driving a truck, at the hospital, or on a construction site.

Here are 3 best practices for helping your employees feel connected:

  1. Frequent communication – In the first article of this series I outlined the importance of an effective communication plan. No news IS NOT good news in a situation like this.  Information reduces uncertainty.  Even when there is nothing big or seemingly noteworthy to share, outreach alone can create trust and comfort in the knowledge that there’s still someone there.  Consider sending a brief daily or every other day communication.
  2. Individual outreach – Assign someone the responsibility to reach out to every employee at your organization. Ask your supervisors to take this on.  Everyone at a company should already have a supervisor, even the CEO.   Ask every supervisor to reach out personally to each of their direct reports to check-in with them, ask them how they’re doing, provide any updates, answer questions, and thank them for their continued efforts on behalf of the company.
  3. Get together often – Encourage frequent informal and formal meetings for departments, committees, or even with the entire organization. This may not work for every job role or company but try to think outside the box.  At People Element we recently found that virtual video get togethers can be as engaging as our in-person meetings.  It’s hard to hide in the crowd on a video conference.  We’ve had quick, 15-minute company huddles, department meetings, company-wide meetings, and a happy hour, all via online meetings.  Consider having virtual lunch meetings, potlucks, or birthday celebrations.  There are several good free video conferencing tools if you don’t have one: ZoomGoogle Hangouts, and Skype are just a few of the many.
10 Ways To Keep Remote Workers Connected – iPECcoaching.com, by Jenny Wiley, Mar 17, 2020
8 Tips To Make Working From Home Work For You – NPR, by Yuki Noguchi, Mar 15, 2020
How to Get People to Actually Participate in Virtual Meetings – Harvard Business Review, by Justin Hale & Joseph Grenny, Mar 9, 2020
What It Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting – Harvard Business Review, by Bob Frisch & Cary Greene, Mar 5, 2020
Leading at a Distance – LinkedIn Learning

What Is Your Company Emergency Remote Work Plan? – Harvard Business Review, by Cali Williams Yost, Feb 28, 2020

How to Collaborate Effectively If Your Team Is Remote – Harvard Business Review, by Erica Dhawan & Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Feb 27, 2018
Empathy, Leadership and the Coronavirus – Ohio State University, by Nicholas Salter, PhD
Leading Through COVID-19 – MIT, by Eric J. McNulty, Mar 6, 2020
8 Questions Employers Should Ask About Coronavirus – Harvard Business Review, by Jeff Levin-Scherz & Deana Allen, Mar 2,2020

COVID-19 Workplace Best Practices: Start with Communication

The impact of COVID-19 has found its way into all our lives in one way or another. We, your team at People Element, want to do what we can to help you and your employees through this time of uncertainty. We can’t possibly know all the challenges you’re facing but based on the customer conversations we’ve had and our own experiences, we’ve narrowed our focus to three critical areas: Communication, Connection, and Well-Being. Below are some thoughts and resources for the first of these areas: Communication. We hope these materials can be helpful in your efforts to navigate through this difficult time.


It’s not an accident this is listed first. We believe this should be the first priority at a time like this. Information empowers your people to make the best decisions possible for themselves and their families. We recommend you develop a communication plan that can be delivered by the highest levels of leadership as well as immediate supervisors.

Here are the 4 keys to an effective communication plan:

  1. Communication should be appropriately transparent and empathic
  2. Use as many delivery mediums as possible as different people best absorb information in different ways (company/department meeting, video, recorded messages, email, etc.)
  3. Establish an appropriate frequency of communications as things change rapidly. Even if you have no changes or updates, it’s important you keep your communication coming regularly – something like “We have no new updates at this time, but we will keep you informed as we know more.”
  4. Under the current circumstances, we recommend the following topics be covered:
    • Financial status/health of the company
    • Short- and long-term plan
    • What employees can expect in regard to their job status
    • Resources available to employees in need
    • Where they can go to get questions answered
    • Provide appropriate encouragement, hope, and gratitude for their efforts
Staying Connected During COVID-19: Communicating Through Crisis – CapitolCommunicator.com, by Mark Devito, Mar 20, 2020
Using the Psychological Science of Crisis Leadership and Communications to Navigate the Coronavirus: A Webinar for Public Officials – APA, by Baruch Fischhoff, PhD, Ellen Peters, PhD, & Roxane Cohen Silver, PhD, Mar 20, 2020
3 Lessons for Employee Communications During COVID-19 – the-future-of-commerce.com, by Frank Shaw, Mar 16, 2020
Don’t Hide Bad News in Times of Crisis – Harvard Business Review, by Amy C. Edmondson, Mar 6, 2020
How to Reassure Your Team When the News is Scary – Harvard Business Review, by Alison Shapira, Mar 5, 2020
Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis – Harvard Business Review, by Martin Reeves, Nikolaus Lang & Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak, Feb 27, 2020

People Element has surveyed thousands of people about their employment experiences during the COVID-19 crisis.

Our report outlines our findings and is available as a free download.

Ready to build a better workplace?