he COVID Crisis has presented many challenges for business leaders. At Predictive Success, we recently surveyed a leadership team of one of our clients to help narrow down some of the top challenges they are currently facing. Based on our findings, the top 3 things leaders are worried about are social interaction & relationships, remote work & mental health, and training.
Social Interaction & Relationships
Social interaction and relationships was the top concern amongst leaders based on the results of the survey. Since the start of the pandemic, many companies have moved to a virtual setting. This means that employees are missing that in-person social aspect from their work, affecting their work relationships, communication, and other in-person interactions.
Casual conversations that would normally be had in the office setting fall to the wayside when people are not in the same working space or seeing each other regularly. To avoid missing these non-work-related conversations that often help in building trust and a better working relationship, leaders should recommend employees try to schedule a time to connect with members of their team for casual conversation, such as 15-minute virtual “coffee chats” to help build that human connection. 
Communication between colleagues can also become complicated when moved to an online setting, so employees and managers should consider finding out coworkers’ preferred style of communication  – this could be email, texting, calls, or Zoom. Knowing what communication style colleagues prefer may help in avoiding misunderstandings and other communication issues remote workers may be facing.
As for that craving of in-person interaction that office life brings (and social distancing takes away), leadership should encourage employees to try spending more quality time with family at home or within their social bubble. 
Remote Work & Mental Health
The issue of social interaction and relationships ties into the second-highest concern of leaders, remote work, and mental health. Work/life balance and burnout are just a couple of the challenges working from home during the pandemic brings.
One of the reasons accounted for burnout is the lack of separation between work and home. Previously employees would usually have a commute to and from the office, cementing a clear boundary between work and home. Now, people are working from home in ways they never expected to, and some may not even have a designated working space. One tip to help this separation is to instill a “virtual commute” , setting aside 20 minutes at the beginning of the day and knowing when to quit at the end of it. These breaks at the beginning and end of the day can help our brains mark the separation between work and home life. Inc.com also recommends using Headspace, noting that “30 days of using meditation can reduce stress by 32 percent, and that just four sessions reduced burnout in frontline workers by 14 percent.” 
Managing people virtually leads us to the last issue leaders are worried about, which is training. In this context, training can be both onboarding new employees or continuing to manage and develop current employees. In a new virtual environment, this is proving to be difficult. As mentioned previously, virtual communication can be tricky, so be sure to set clear expectations – for roles, responsibilities, and deadlines.  In addition to setting these clear expectations, it is also important to follow-up with feedback so remote employees know where they stand, which is especially important when everything else feels so uncertain due to the pandemic.
Lastly, leaders can use PI when both training and managing employees virtually; to help manage the individual and understand what drives and motivates their team. Knowing an individual’s PI Behavioural Assessment™ can help managers identify their needs, communication preferences, work style, and more. For instance, an employee with a higher amount of extraversion might need even more connection in an online setting than some of their coworkers, so scheduling Zoom calls, casual video chats, or phone calls can help them feel like their need for socializing and inclusion is being met.  Leaders can also use PI to help improve working relationships with our Relationship Guides, which explore areas of strengths, potential weaknesses, and tips. 
The COVID Crisis has presented many challenges for business leaders, but by following these tips and using the Predictive Index, leaders can help solve the top 3 concerns listed above. If you would like to learn more about PI, please click here.