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How to Lead Your Team Whilst Social Distancing During this Circuit Breaker

by BGC Employer

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2 months of circuit breaker has caused a lot of disruption in today's workforce. The government has recently announced a 3 phase plan to ensure efforts in the past months will not go to waste.

Despite the changes offices in Singapore have made, it's time to get real. The COVID-19 virus has disrupted and rearranged the workplace at warp speed. Organizations across every sector have been forced to send a disproportionately large number of employees home to work remotely. 

Not only has the circuit breaker forced countless full-time, part-time, and casual employees in Singapore to adapt to a new work-from-home environment. Managers and supervisors must also adapt to the new measures, forcing some to wander into uncharted waters — leading teams from home. 

Here are some ways to lead your team despite the social distance during the current circuit breaker. 


1. Check-in With Your Employees 

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As the circuit breaker in Singapore extends, a number of working Singaporean employees complain of being less productive when working from home. Other complaints include dealing with feelings of depression, lethargy, and the fear of being unproductive when working from home

The lack of communication can lead to a growing number of mental health issues amongst your employees. And whilst it’s great to talk about staying positive, in hopes of inspiring your fellow employees. Instead, try paying more attention to the mental health of your team.   

Some ways for bosses and supervisors to check in with their employees include: 

  • Encourage employees to take regular breaks in between tasks! Working non-stop can lead to job burnout. Learn more about how to manage job burnouts here

  • Get supervisors or team leaders to check in with their team members frequently (e.g. drinks over a video call)

  • Separate the boundaries between work and personal time. Don’t hit your employees up after work hours.

  • Arrange for a video call meetup to ask your employees or different teams how they’re holding up! You’ll want to make communication more humanized - to make it more personal. Additionally, video calls are also a good platform for debates and

  • Reset your personal expectations of what can and cannot be done during the circuit breaker.

  • Engage in small talk! Think back to the days where you worked in the office, the day is littered with engaging conversation. You’ll want to recreate this ambiance despite working away from each other, at home. Schedule some time for a quick catch up or send your teammates interesting news, songs, or videos to connect with them.

  • Gauge employee stress levels. A prolonged work-from-home situation might be detrimental to the mental health of some employees. This is why it’s important to let your team know that their mental health is a priority. So, the next time you’re doing your weekly catch up sessions with the team, ask them to rate their stress levels on a scale of one-to-ten. Then, using the same scale, try and measure their productivity rate, in this method recommended by the Harvard Business Review.

These are just some solutions to help alleviate low morale issues. Reaching out might provide your employees with an outlet to express. Just be sure to not make these sessions intimidating or overwhelming! 

If you’re on the lookout for additional resources to help potentially depressed employees, you might want to check out our recent article, “How to Stay Sane When Working From Home in Singapore”. Or check out our article on improving staff morale during the Coronavirus season here


2. Reset Your Expectations

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Social distancing can wreak havoc on some people, making them feel disconnected and lonely. This might lower the rate of productivity and engagement. As a supervisor or a leader, the lowered rate of productivity might make it more tempting for you to focus on nothing but the tasks on hand. Keep in mind that despite the slower work pace, your employees are actively upskilling themselves. They’re learning to adapt to the many challenges of working remotely, away from a team. 


Here are some ways to reset both your expectations and your employees’: 

  • Hold brainstorming sessions: This gives your team a platform to come up with innovative new ideas on how to improve current work processes, as well as potentially increase productivity rates.

  • Set clear expectations: Remote leaves the employee with a lot of time to effectively plan their workday. For example, let your employee know what some of the more urgent tasks are for them to prioritize throughout the week.

  • Explain why: As an employer, you are more aware of how each individual team’s work impacts the organization as a whole. However, your employees might not. Gently remind your employees of the different outcomes that the results of their actions will lead to.

  • Be flexible: As an employer, it’s important to understand that work might not get done at the same speed or manner as before. Let your team accomplish and complete their responsibilities in their own time and manner - as long as their weekly KPIs are met. 


Read more about setting clear expectations and KPI in our article, “Telecommuting: A Last Minute Checklist for HR and Employers in Singapore”. 


3. Trust Your Employees 

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Nobody likes to be micromanaged. Some symptoms of micromanaging during this work-from-home season include excessive emails, constant video calls, and instant messages, or a number of inquiries regarding projects and deadlines. Research shows that nearly 70% of employees report a decrease in their morale. It is no surprise that most employees who feel like they’re being micromanaged eventually quit. Micromanaging also leads to a whole host of other problems — job burnouts, as well as reduced productivity rates. Instead of micromanaging your employees, learn to trust them instead. 


Follow the tips below for some tips and tricks to managing responsible employees: 

  • Encourage accountability: A lack of accountability lets your employees know that it’s ok for your staff to underperform.

  • Set proper goals: Encourage your team and/or employees to set realistic goals that can be completed from home.

  • Pair ‘em up: Pair an underperforming employee up with someone who is performing well. Not only will the informal mentorship impart knowledge on both the mentor and the mentee. The duo might be able to provide one another with an additional layer of mutual support during these emotionally isolating times. 


Humans are social animals. The current social distancing measures might cause some of your employees to feel like a fish out of water. One way to keep your team on track is to be a leader that understands the challenges that the team is currently facing. Have you got what it takes to be an understanding leader? 


Have any tips and tricks to share regarding social distancing during this circuit breaker? Share them with us in the comments section below, and we’ll add them to our article!  


Read More: How to Be a Better Boss in 4 Easy Steps

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