“Is anyone else’s staff treating this like a paid vacation?”

This is a post I recently saw in a Facebook group, there was an explanation underneath as to why they felt this way but it was the question itself that got me thinking. I reached out to some of my clients and have found A LOT of them are feeling this way.

I have spoken a lot about change, how it has affected me and how I deal with it and this is great for self-development but I now understand I haven’t spoken about how to deal with your staff through this challenging time.

If you are in Australia and are eligible you would have applied for the Job Keeper program and in most cases this would mean your business is fully or partially closed and your staff are receiving this payment.

Can you ask your staff to work from home whilst on this payment? Yes of course you can. However any tasks you are asking them to complete must be relevant to their job. You can’t ask a cleaner to create a new logo.  

Before you start calling demanding them to work I want you to think about the below.

EVERYONE is dealing with change during this time you need to be compassionate and empathetic to their individual situations. You need to understand their capabilities and limitations whilst working from home, what facilities do they have, are they caring for their children, are they self-isolating? I am serious when I say you need to deal with your staff individual with this. (if this is your first time calling them since closing don’t even think about checking their capabilities, go back to the part where I said you need to be empathetic and compassionate through this time and make your first phone call about that).

Now that you have phoned checked in with them and understand their capabilities and limitations you can assess the situation. Write down all of the duties you are going to ask them to do from home and make sure they are going to be capable of completing these duties. You then want to create a roster and an accountability system. At work you are always accountable for your job so it’s important that they are held accountable at home as well.

I would phone them individually and give them an overall view of what my plan is I would then send that out in an email with the link for a group meeting, after the meeting I would email out their new responsibilities.

Clear communication is crucial during this time, also following it all up in writing is a great way to ensure the message is clear and adds a level of accountability, there is no he said she said.

If you don’t plan on having your staff work during this time I encourage you to still reach out and see how they are going, keep in contact with them, this will allow for an easy back to work transition.

On the original post I also saw so many people jump on the “nasty” bandwagon criticising for expecting your employees to work during this challenging time, firstly I want you to remember EVERYONE is dealing with challenges stop judging and start helping. People are doing the best they can during this time and being “nasty” is not helping anyone. In the end the original poster deleted the post as the comments were getting a bit much. I want you to consider their mental health EVERY time you write a comment during this time.