Leadership during quarantine: Five tips to keep employees engaged and productive

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    AS the number of COVID-19 cases rises worldwide, businesses are adapting work-from-home arrangements to ensure continuity of operations. However, managing remote teams can be challenging even for the best managers in large organizations. To help businesses rise up to this challenge, Refinitiv, a global provider of financial markets data and infrastructure, recently hosted a virtual talk on best leadership practices amid the quarantine.

    Entitled LeadHer Talk: How Leaders Can Keep Remote Employees Engaged and Productive During Tumultuous Times, the discussion was led by the Refinitiv Women Network – Manila, in collaboration with non-profit Women Inter-industry Network. With over 200 participants worldwide, the online session featured guest speakers Grace Dang, Refinitiv Head of Technical Implementations and Co-Site Lead for the Beijing Operations Center; Benjamin Quinlan, CEO and Managing Partner of Quinlan Associates, and member of the Board of Directors of the Fintech Association of Hong Kong; and Love Del Rosario, Senior Solutions Consultant at Google Philippines.

    Here are five collective tips that have proven effective across virtual team management:

    1. Observe prompt and visible action

    Decision-making is crucial in crisis, especially if it involves public health and safety. It should be made fast enough to address concerns efficiently, but never too quick to compromise decision value. Businesses need to ensure that these actions provide employees with assurance and support both personally and professionally. Prompt implementation of mitigation plans, safety procedures, work compensation process, and other crucial actions should be top priorities.

    1. Foster honest and consistent communication

    Establish various communication channels both for the team and clients. Apart from email, creating group chats in social media and messaging platforms could help facilitate quick connections. Daily check-ins, regular updates, and meetings are likewise highly encouraged to ensure aligned communication.

    1. Provide flexibility and define work-life boundaries

    People respond differently to difficult situations. That is why it is important to allow teams to work in ways most efficient for them. Allowing employees to work flexibly while maintaining a clear work list boosts their morale and helps reduce stress levels. A great work-life balance also helps build trust and commitment in the workplace, and even increases employees’ productivity.

    1. Create shared experiences

    Planning online activities that foster bonding is a powerful tool in motivating employees. Simple activities such as curating a group playlist, sharing work-from-home set-ups, encouraging fun contests, or even sharing journal entries go a long way in inspiring the team.

    1. Lead with empathy and establish emotional connection

    At the core of leadership is understanding and addressing the needs of others. By understanding employee’s emotional needs and creating an avenue for them to voice out their opinions, leaders create a culture of trust, collaboration, transparency, and a greater sense of purpose for their people.

    “At Refinitiv, one of our key pledges is communicating the value of sustainable leadership. Through this principle, we aim to foster a culture that supports the communities we work in, empowers individuals, and drives social impact,” says Genevieve Esguerra, Content Operations Manager at Refinitiv Philippines. “Through the LeadHer Talk, we aim to help our people and other professionals in Asia to continuously thrive in their fields and have the opportunity to reach their full potential even in difficult times.”

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