Strategies to help your workforce work from home at this time

 

Volunteering Queensland understands the important role that volunteer managers and volunteer-involving organisations play in supporting and staying in touch with their teams during these difficult and changing times, especially those working from home. We have collated some ideas that may help you understand the impacts of COVID-19 on your workforce, and explore strategies to provide support during this time.

Consider the following:

Be Supportive

  • What can the team (staff and volunteers) borrow from the workplace to set up a workspace at home (ensure you have a lending register)?
  • Implement a buddy system among your team to touch base daily with each other.
  • Encourage adding frequent breaks and time away from the screen. There are apps available online to remind you to get up and move.
  • Always have honest and reassuring discussions about the impacts of the crisis to the workplace/workforce.

Be Flexible

  • Acknowledge that some people have other responsibilities within their home environment (e.g.: caring for children, elderly, etc.).
  • Can you offer flexibility around hours of work? Explore working to outcomes not hours.
  • What projects can be put on hold, while priorities in response to the crisis are being addressed?
  • Check in about expectations around work productivity at home, how could these be met differently?
  • Ensure you are aware of your obligations under relevant Awards and Enterprise bargaining Agreements.

Communicate

  • Set a daily or weekly meeting via web-based conferencing (Zoom or Microsoft Teams) to remain connected with each other and across workplace priorities.
  • Encourage updates from everyone, so people see the bigger picture and share their perspectives and concerns.
  • Introduce social get together via web-based conferencing session to connect over non-work-related topics / your day that has been.
  • Ensure regular contact, even if there are no updates, so that speculation and worry don’t fill the silence.

Be Mindful

  • When receiving replies to emails or messages, be mindful of the tone, often this can be an indicator with how someone is coping. Pick up the phone if you are concerned.
  • Ensure everyone knows how their role feeds into the bigger picture.
  • Incorporate reflection and gratitude into your day, through team meetings or catch ups or via email.
  • Ensure your team (staff and volunteers) are aware of Employee Assistance Programs.
  • Remain conscious of your WHS obligations, including to the mental health of your team.

 

Take care of yourself too:

For those that directly manage teams (staff and volunteers), we understand that there may be increased demands on your time in supporting your team and keeping them connected, even if they may potentially not be actively working/volunteering.

Consider the following:

  • Be careful to not go beyond your role in supporting your team.
  • Have clarity on what you can and cannot provide your team.
  • Develop an action plan that is continually reviewed and revised.
  • Review your program outcomes and determine if roles can be paused to support interim activities in response to the crisis.
  • Have clear identification markers if a team member requires support beyond your capacity and have procedures to manage this.
  • Know what support is available through other organisations in the community. Understand how to link volunteers into these supports, as required.

 

Adapted from information provided by Volunteering Tasmania and TasCOSS.