On a recent trip through Terminal 1 of MSP airport, I noticed the following signs throughout the terminal. They caught my attention, as I reflected on the way we are working now – from our home offices without confidence.
According to a recent study conducted by Win Big Media group, the top three personal values consumers indicate are important include; helping and caring for family and friends, preserving your own safety and the safety of your family, and being dependable and trustworthy to our family and friends. As leaders, this same reasoning can be applied to the way we feel about our employees.
Now add the daily metrics of the virus to our psyche, and it’s no wonder we all are lacking confidence. Every company, large and small is wrestling with the need to protect their employees and the employee’s needs to get out of the home office to be collaborative or more productive. These two objectives are not mutually exclusive, and I propose that every leader can confidently give their employees the option of a safe alternative place to work by following three proven strategies:
Lead with empathy. All of us have different levels of risk tolerance, and as a leader you need to find out your employees levels. Find out if they are getting out to restaurants, retail stores, or other public outdoor activities and how that has made them feel. Find out if they have loved ones they are concerned about due to health conditions that put them at a greater risk. Find out how they really are holding up at the home office. You may be surprised by what you hear when you ask these open ended questions. Hint, don’t ask them directly if they are afraid – there is no right answer to that closed question.
Lead with courage. These are scary times for sure, and the risks are real. I was very concerned when I returned to fly for the first time, but I took into account all the risks and benefits. While I felt completely safe during my flight and time in the airport (where I was reminded constantly to Travel with Confidence), it took a courageous act of booking a flight to overcome my fear. Courage is an admirable trait in a leader, and your employees are looking for you to be so for them. As John Wayne said “Courage is being scared to death… but saddling up anyway.”, which leads us to the last and most important strategy.
Lead with action. No one ever follows a leader hiding in a bunker, and no one ever follows a leader running in front of a bus. However, as leaders we need to confidently lead with action in front of our employees and model both their deep desire to get out of the home office to collaborate, and the need to be safe, by finding a third place that is expertly navigating and protecting safety. Invest your time, and a little bit of money to get offsite with them for a collaborative planning session, or provide them with the ability to work in a safe environment once per week.
We have been creating an environment where you can confidently work since the beginning of the pandemic. Our cleaning protocols, physical distancing and community standards are mature, well planned, and executed. This means you can more safely work from one of our locations than having dinner with your extended family. Tom, one of our members, sums it up nicely, “You cannot beat the service, cleaning protocol, or the wide-variety of spaces available at Coco. This is a special place, and the only one I feel comfortable working in during a pandemic.”.
If you’re just thinking and building up your courage, we can help provide you some options and more information about our protocols. We even can provide private offices on a daily or weekly basis to help you take that first step with your team, and we always have reservable desks that will be exclusively yours – physically distanced and meticulously maintained.
Your homebound and pandemic-fatigued employees need you to step up and lead. Do so empathetically and courageously, and be in action – they will love you for it!