How do you build morale during a global pandemic crisis?

All over the world, small businesses are working to take the proper precautions against the coronavirus outbreak. Retailers are temporarily closing their doors to the public while restaurants only provide takeout or delivery services. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that in-person events of 50 people or more must be cancelled or postponed for the next eight weeks. Everyone is encouraged to practice social distancing and self-isolation, quarantining themselves in their homes in an effort to flatten the pandemic’s curve.

If you’re reading this, whether you’re an entrepreneur or employee, you probably feel a bit anxious, stressed, and worried. It’s okay to feel that way. We do not know what may happen next during this crisis. However, what we do know is that it is possible (yes, possible) for small businesses to build up morale. Here’s what you can do now to support your team.

Remind everyone that their work matters.

In the acting profession, there are no small parts. The same can be said about your job and the place you work at. There are no small roles, no small industries. As a team and on your own, you play an important part in the community and in serving your customer base. The work you do matters, whether you show up and do that work in-person or work remotely. Your team depends on you and so do customers, who may not have the same choices that you have. The work you do does make a difference.

Another pro tip? Volunteer your time to fellow coworkers who need it. In times of crisis, simply asking “how can I help?” makes all the difference.

Make the (phone) call.

As many of us become accustomed to practicing social distancing and working from home, technology will have even more influence in the way we work. We’ll be able to video conference through Skype, host webinars with the help of Zoom, and message fellow coworkers through apps like Slack.

Platforms and apps aside, however, sometimes you just need to hear a friendly voice. If we’re unable to meet in-person with our colleagues, schedule in a time to talk together over the phone. Entrepreneurs may encourage their employees to schedule a call together, too. See how they’re doing so far in their workload, ask if they need any help, and figure out if there’s any other ways you can support them.

Think ahead, work ahead.

Crises, even the more unpredictable ones that don’t have a hard end date, are temporary. We tend to remember the actions taken (or not) during a crisis just as much as the crisis itself.

There are two types of leaders in the world. There are those that choose to see the coronavirus and any potential time off they get from the company as the start of a mini-vacation. And there are those that take action. Rather than binge watch a TV show, they work alongside their team to ensure the customer experience is smooth. They also use this time to plan ahead.

Small businesses are often so busy in their day-to-day routines that this bit of down time allows them to step back and reevaluate their plans.

Think of it as an opportunity to focus your efforts on areas you might not have had the time for before. Some of these might include the following areas:

  • Do you want to create a content strategy plan for your Instagram account?
  • How about think ahead to promotions during the holiday season?
  • Redesign your company website or e-newsletter?
  • Introduce a new product or offering that you know your customer base needs?
  • Start a podcast? (Hey, it’s the fastest, and safest, way to reach tons of people all at once with your brand and its message!)

You may even use this time to reevaluate upcoming events that have been cancelled and what you can do in lieu of their absence.

Get creative! See these opportunities as possibilities for growth and the ability to flex your creative muscle and engage with the entire team. Who knows what you may be able to accomplish and most importantly, integrate back into the business once you’re back up and running again.

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