Since the outbreak of coronavirus, there have been many global measures to contain the virus. From implementing travel restrictions, quarantining individuals, and even locking down countries, there’s a lot done.

As coronavirus concerns continue to arise, it's important to have crucial conversations among your company and team. As the outbreak evolves, you'll need to adapt to the fluid nature of the public policy landscape and take action to prioritize the well-being of your team and their loved ones. Teams, no matter how big or small, should prepare to adopt new ways to collaborate, support, and work with each other.

We recognize the hardship that lost work can mean for hourly employees. As a result, [Microsoft] will continue to pay all our vendor hourly service providers their regular pay during this period of reduced service needs.

– Brad Smith, President at Microsoft

The coronavirus is redefining leadership

Every company will go through a rough crisis, in this unfortunate case, the coronavirus outbreak. It’s times like this where leaders can support through compassion and transparency.

Since Microsoft's announcement to continue paying their hourly employees, Google, Apple, and Amazon have stepped up to take a similar pledge (Courtesy of Fast Company) 

Be compassionate. Lead with empathy by considering how the outbreak doesn't just impact your team's day-to-day at work, but also their livelihood. Microsoft has taken steps to protect hourly workers. President Brad Smith's ability to connect to all Microsoft member acknowledges their hardships cultivates compassion within the company.

Facilitate questions. Organizing a virtual town hall meeting is a great way to better understand what your peers do. This space can prompt individuals to ask questions, share insight on their perspectives, and spark conversations that can lead to effective resolutions.

Be transparent. Speaking of clear communication, be honest. Tell teams about how the company plans to deal with an outbreak and what is being done to ensure the safety of valued individuals. Matter’s head of talent shares weekly updates as the CDC and WHO update their guidance on how to handle the virus.

Matter's very own head of talent shared prompt company-wide updates in our Slack general when early cases of the coronavirus outbreak first started appearing in the west coast

Support comes in all forms

During a sensitive time where your team is concerned about their well-being, strategizing, protecting, and guiding them can ease the scare of the outbreak. Here's what you can do to help your team:

Be aware of individual needs. Be aware of your team members and their situations. They may have parents, be caregivers, or have pre-existing conditions. Talk about their concerns, suggestions, or needs that may impact their daily tasks.

Alleviate fear. With an outbreak, many individuals feel worried about contracting a virus or disease. Distill fear among peers with facts from credible sources and stick to numbers. Providing regular updates can show that you’re being proactive over the situation and prioritizing health first.

Provide flexibility: Adapt to the present situation. This can look like work-from-home options, rescheduling meetings due to illnesses, anything that allows space for change. At Matter, we're fully working from home.

Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are asking Seattle-based staff to work from home because of coronavirus
Many tech companies have asked Seattle-based employees to work from home to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Amazon and Facebook have also shut down individual Seattle offices after confirming that workers were infected with the novel coronavirus.

Stay productive and positive

With more and more companies announcing discretionary and mandatory work-from-home policy, you'll find yourself trying to figure new, creative ways to collaborate and stay productive. Here are a few tips:

Leverage technology. Zoom, a company that provides remote conferencing services, lifted their call limit for their free plan to support remote work. In the golden age of technology, applications like Slack and Zoom mimic the workspace and establish normalcy with your team.

Zoom lifted their call limit for their free plan to support remote work (Photo courtesy of Zoom)

Proactively ask and give feedback. With remote and work-from-home being the new norm during this outbreak, gathering and giving feedback with your team will be paramount. There are many tools out there that let you do that like Slack direct message, Google Forms, or if you're looking to streamline feedback and make it easier for your team, check out Matter (it's free!).

Over-communicate. Just like being transparent about company updates on the outbreak, it’s never a bad idea to over-communicate when it comes to collaboration and work, especially when it is remote. When in doubt, over-index in being responsive and follow up.

Take a breather. Think about what you can control right now: your health. Taking breaks, looking after your health, eating well, and resting properly are all items you can control. Placing your mental and physical health can reduce the chances of getting sick.

Parting thoughts

There is no one size fits all guide on how to handle a crisis like the coronavirus. Every team is made up of different individual needs and the best policy will be one that adapts and evolves with the situation, in this case, the outbreak.

Is your company doing an amazing job in helping you better understand how the outbreak will impact your work? I'd love to hear from you. Just tweet to me at @taictran and @matterapp!


Matter – The Future of Feedback

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Cover Photo Courtesy of Microsoft