Helping Supervisors Lead During COVID-19

A Checklist for Supervisors 🗹

☐  Seek clear direction from management. Provide factual information and answer questions accurately, but avoid “doom and gloom” scenarios. As the leader, you set the emotional tone for your group, so do your best to keep their spirits up.

☐  While it may feel awkward, maintain office routines and normal workplace protocols from home (as much as possible). For many, the routine of work may be a haven. By having normal routines in place, it will help employees feel more at ease and as a result, more productive.

☐  Provide an opportunity for employees to express their feelings. It is important for employees to know that it’s healthy to express their feelings. Be available to listen. Offer your support. Ask how you can help. Where appropriate, refer employees to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

☐  Schedule time for employees to meet as a group (virtual). It is helpful to realize the strength that comes with support from others. It is important for them to know they are not alone.

☐  Ask an EAP representative to attend a staff or faculty department meeting (virtual) to tell staff about the services that EAP can provide. Remind staff and faculty to avail themselves of these valuable services.

☐  Recognize your responsibility as a role model. People automatically take their cues from the leader, so you must model the behavior you expect. If your staff is working long hours, pitch in and help out. If you expect them to meet tight deadlines, be sure you do the same. And to minimize griping, don’t be a complainer yourself.

☐  Be alert to disturbing behaviors or emotions that last more than two weeks or that are having adverse effects on work performance. If you are concerned, contact your EAP and/or Human Resources for guidance.

☐  Remember, you have been affected too. Be sure to take care of yourself.

See the following tips:

Self-Care for Supervisors

Be kind to YOURSELF and take mini breaks. The best way to relax and stay focused is to step away from your computer for five minutes. Take some deep breaths, do some grounding exercises, stretch or focus on your pets (they can bring us comfort).

Create a ritual to transition from work to home. If you are working from home, you live in your office. It can be easy to overwork. Set a time to stop working and then stop. It is important to differentiate work time from personal time, especially if you are working from home.

Exercise regularly. Create an exercise routine, find something that you enjoy — it can be a sport that increases your heartrate or something brief or gentle like taking a walk or yoga. YouTube has numerous videos for guided exercise, yoga or dance.

Work toward a healthy diet. Make conscious choices, slow down and incorporate food that tastes good and that is good for you.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or are unable to sleep or function well, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Your EAP is scheduling appointments via Zoom and telephone for counseling and referrals. 
Check the EAP website periodically for additional tips and resources to support emotional health. For questions contact the Employee Assistance Program at (850) 644-2288.

Used with permission and adapted from sources from Binghamton University and University of Texas.