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The importance of setting work-life boundaries for your team during the pandemic

Everywoman in Travel’s head of partnerships Kate Farrow explains how to help your team find the right work-life balance during the pandemic.

The everywoman in Travel team has done lots of new things over the past few months for our communities while in lockdown. One new initiative has been our fortnightly coffee breaks, which are an opportunity for our community to come together and talk about things that are prevalent during this strange time.

Our most recent coffee break was about setting boundaries – also the subject of this article.

As employees’ work and home life have collided there are things you can do as a leader to support your team members through this time by setting helpful, healthful boundaries.

Over communicate

During this time, it is more important than ever to overcommunicate with your team. I am hearing leaders saying that they are having daily check-ins with their team as the situation in many countries varies wildly, daily.

Check in on your team members’ priorities to ensure they are investing their time in the right activities, check in on their challenges with working remotely (if they still are), and make sure they are still able to work collaboratively across the team and take time for the other competing demands, such as childcare, exercise and, importantly, having time to relax and not be “at work”.

Give permission

There will be team members that you need to give “permission” to talk about things other than work with you.

Your interactions with them to date may have only been to get updates on projects, have solution-finding sessions and work out how you are going to work as a team during this unprecedented time.

However, there will be team members who won’t use this opportunity to share with you where they might be struggling. They may feel it is not their place to share with you that they are struggling with simple daily activities, such as shopping, because they have someone in their home who is shielding or vulnerable.

If you add an agenda point to your daily check-ins, such as “how are your family managing to juggle everything during lockdown?” you are giving that team member time to think what their answer would be to that, but also the permission to air challenges.

Be kind but overt with your expectations

There are very few employees who don’t want to do a good job or be supportive of you as their leader, which is why being overt with your expectations during this time is the kindest thing you can do.

For instance, if you expect your employees to all come to meetings prepared and ready to contribute, you must be overt about that in the meeting invitations.

Equally, many of us who are senior in business are working strange hours as we settle into new routines, and so if it is your routine to catch up on emails on a Sunday afternoon, make sure that your teams know that just because you are working, you don’t expect them to be working also.

everywoman’s sessions are open to all of their community and can be accessed here.

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