By Arlene Wherrett
Like never before, the world’s eyes are glued to developments with the pandemic and emotions which can get the better of us.
Prevalent questions that are often asked in these times of crisis include: Am I able to keep my job? Can I still maintain my housing loan? How do I continue to pay for my children’s education?
These are real anxious scenarios that people face, which is why – companies need to pay attention to their workforce and ensure they are safe and supported over these unprecedented times with these three C’s – Compassion, Calm confidence and Collaboration.
In such testing and turbulent times, compassion, or empathy is the core value that should resonate in keeping the workforce physically and mentally healthy.
The number one priority for Sage remains to protect and look after our colleagues. This is key as safeguarding our people will enable them to look after the customers, employ a customer success mindset day in-day out and be ready to attract new customers when the recovery begins.
At Sage, we have initiated a subscription to Headspace, a brilliant award-winning app and guide to everyday mindfulness. The app is provided free to all Sage colleagues globally and is a great way to keep Sage employees mentally healthy at home.
When we are mentally healthy, we can form positive relationships, cope with daily challenges, and use our abilities to reach our potential. Taking a few minutes out from one’s day to focus on being present helps our colleagues to engage more effectively with our customers.
Mindfulness, relaxation, breathing and meditation techniques can easily be used in everyday life to reduce stress, improve resiliency and the ability to focus. Happier and healthier team members lead to a more compassionate and collaborative culture.
Uncertainty breeds fear – and therefore employers need to resonate calm confidence. Business leaders can demonstrate calm confidence by setting aside time to speak to team managers, ask them about their concerns and pain points, listen patiently and hear them out, and give them guidance that they can re-use with their team members.
One of the ways we have inspired confidence and calm in the midst of the storm, is our regular weekly update newsletter for all colleagues which provides up to date information on the Covid–19 situation, measures we have taken to safeguard our employees’ health and wellbeing as well as the expert business advice we are providing to our customers and partners.
Our Sage Asia Coronavirus Resource Hub is a great example of this kind of business advice including information and best practices on topics such as working from home and government grants for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). We have found that these weekly communications enable us to give updates to the entire workforce and to be transparent about our plans moving forward.
At Sage, we also believe in a two-way conversation with all staff because understanding how our staff think, and feel is vital to the continued success of our business.
As such, Sage has also set up the Always Listening survey, which allows employees to send us feedback on how they are coping every day, or every week, or just whenever they feel like it.
Bi-weekly questions related to the coronavirus are shared on our intranet and colleagues from around the world submit answers, suggestions or raise issues for our global crisis management team to address.
As employers, we need to provide suitable technology platforms, as well as accessibility for employees to be able to work from home effectively.
Technology like never before is our biggest ally in these times of uncertainty. We rely on technology for updates, information, and collaboration. However, we also need to find a way to balance the fine line between work and home life, especially when one is confined to limited square footage during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
At Sage, we leverage on our own suite of solutions to be constantly supportive of our stakeholders as well as leveraging collaboration platforms to maintain the status quo of work, deliverables, and interaction.
While maintaining that employee engagement can be tricky when people are working remotely, it is not impossible. As leaders, take up the baton of fostering employee engagement to ensure employees are getting the support they need.
Finding ways to demonstrate compassion, calm confidence whilst enabling collaboration will ensure companies maintain and perhaps even improve how they are perceived as an employer.