Supporting Your People through COVID-19

Many of our partners and soon to be partners have reached out amidst the chaos of adjusting to COVID-19’s ‘new normal’ to ask for support in ensuring that their newly remote teams have the resources they need to effectively manage the stress and challenges of this transition.  We recognize the urgency of our partners’ situations, and Pluma’s video-based solution is well-suited to their needs.  

Giving your team members access to an experienced coach who can help guide and support them during this tumultuous period is an incredible resource.  As such, Pluma has implemented a Rapid COVID-19 Support Program wherein we can launch up to 200 seats of coaching for an organization within 24 hours.  That means if you decide today you would like to provide your team members with access to a coach, they can start their first sessions by tomorrow.  For more information please email hello@pluma.co or request a demo on our website at www.pluma.co.

Beyond coaching, here are some of our team’s observations about the biggest issues facing your employees and how you can help:

Balancing working from home without childcare

  • Be flexible on hours and timing -- recognize many are at home with children juggling schooling and childcare along with their normal workload
  • Consider sending out digital resources for entertaining kids at home -- crowdsourcing suggestions is also a great way to get employees engaged in the task
  • Be forgiving of noises and interruptions during calls -- children have minds of their own and if they interrupt or make noise it’s not the end of the world. Use it as an opportunity to laugh with your team

Space limitations and setup issues around working from home

  • Some companies are reimbursing employees for the purchase of at-home office equipment -- if you have the budget, making sure your teams have a good chair or other tools is a thoughtful touch

Anxiety about job security and economic performance

  • None of us can know the future for sure, but clear communication here is key.  Make sure to keep team members abreast of any new goals or updated priorities for the organization
  • Consider a video-based town hall or all-hands.  Hearing from company leaders (even virtually) is a powerful signal to your team members

Leading their teams from a distance and keeping up morale

Delegating and prioritizing work in a shifting strategic landscape

  • Optimizing communication is key here, as well.  What are leadership’s top priorities and how do they flow down through the various teams?  Giving people concrete tasks and priorities to focus on can alleviate anxiety.  Task management software like Asana or Trello can be helpful with this
  • Telling people what ISN’T a priority is often as valuable as saying what is.  What are the projects or efforts that should go on hold?  Make sure your teams are clear on that front as well

Isolation from their work family and friends

  • Organize video conference happy hours.  It’s good to make this kind of activity optional, and it can be super helpful for those extroverts who need a little more social time to keep a pep in their step
  • Online group games or activities are also a great option for offering a relaxing / fun activity to build camaraderie
  • Most gyms and other exercise classes are shut down -- consider providing digital fitness options to employees like Nike Training or Peloton (free and paid options available) as a tension reliever

No matter which steps you decide to take to support your team, there is no panacea.  Instead, our recommendation is to aim for authentic communication and empathetic responses.  Even just letting team members know that you are thinking of them can go a long way, and should not be underestimated.  As always, if there is anything we at Pluma can do to help you and yours, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Written by

Alexandra Connell

Alexandra Connell is CEO and Co-Founder of Pluma. Prior to starting Pluma, Alexandra held corporate roles across several industries including technology, biotech, and investment management in New York and London. During her role as Chief of Staff at biotech company Solazyme, Alexandra found inspiration for what would ultimately become Pluma. Shortly after IPO, the company was challenged with transition and change. Senior leaders were hired from outside firms. Emerging leaders, who had brought the company to IPO, felt alienated. To preserve a culture of innovation and flexibility, Solazyme needed to upskill and season its newer leaders - and fast. Engagement with content subscriptions was limited. There was significant pushback around the inefficacy and inconvenience of workshops and seminars. The one resource requested repeatedly was executive coaching, but this was simply too expensive and administratively cumbersome to provide across the board to those in need. Alexandra and her cofounder, Samuel Cabral, set out on a path to disrupt traditional leadership development. By leveraging technology, countless interviews with L&D professionals, and a network of thought leaders at Harvard, they developed a cost-effective and turnkey solution for developing leaders. By making executive quality coaching and professional development accessible more broadly within organizations, Alexandra leads Pluma`s mission to build the next generation of happy, inspired, and highly effective leaders. Alexandra holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations and Public Policy from Princeton University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

San Francisco, CA

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Critical ThinkingLeadership DevelopmentManaging TeamsProblem Solving