It’s been a long year for all companies and it’s hard to tell when things will return to normal, or even what normal will look like when the COVID-19 era finally ends. Most firms still have large numbers, if not all of their employees, working remotely. Keeping connected with them is vital to your law firm’s success and even its survival.
Here are some communication tips to use during COVID-19.
Your employees are isolated. From a work perspective, that isolation is complete. From a social perspective, every person’s situation is different, but it’s safe to say that everyone is getting less human interaction than they were at the start of the year. The cumulative impact of month after month of comparative isolation is taking its toll.
You can counter this by being in regular touch and making sure your professional communications are coming forward. Remember, your staff can no longer ask each other casual questions at the water cooler. That means those questions are going unanswered.
If you’ve got a message that your people need to know in its entirety, you’ll want to communicate it over and over again.
Help them work remotely
Your people have had several months of working at home and they probably have a better handle on what they need than was the case in March or April. Whether it’s access to certain technology or just a better chair to help their back, find out what that is. You can also find out what their communication needs are now that they no longer have office interaction.
Job security is a pressing topic most any time, but that’s certainly the case now. Talk to them candidly about where the firm is at and how it impacts their employment. Certainly if they’re job is safe, that’s a nice message to be able to give. Don’t hesitate to share that good news, because otherwise your staff will be relying on gossip and their own worst fears in assessing their future. That could cost you a good employee.
It’s also important to be honest if you can’t be sure how long their job will be there. That’s not as gratifying a message to give as the first one, but people appreciate having some idea of what might be coming around the corner.
The emotional toll of isolation is a real one. We know you’re not a therapist and by no means should you try and be one. But instead of a generic “How are you doing?” question, you might ask your staff more specific questions like “How are you coping with all this?” or “How is your family doing with everyone at home all the time?”
Your employees won’t expect you to solve their problems, but simply asking the question goes a long way in building your connection with them and they might just appreciate someone willing to listen.