How to prepare your teams for periods of uncertainty

Article by Aaron Copestake | 6th August 2021

18 months of uncertainty

If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s that life is unpredictable. Whatever your goals were for the last 18 months, it’s unlikely that living through a global pandemic was part of the plan.  

There is every reason to be optimistic about the future. A successful vaccine rollout has sharply reduced the UK’s death rate, and nearly all restrictions on meeting and socialising have now been lifted. However, this has also been accompanied by a spike in infections. Rather than eradicating COVID-19, it’s becoming clear that we will have to learn to live with it. 

The same could be said for uncertainty. Trying to eliminate it altogether is a fool’s errand. No matter how well you prepare, life will always surprise you. This is not to say that you shouldn’t plan ahead- careful planning is vital for any successful business. But you must also plan for your plans to change. This isn’t just the case for your business strategy. It also applies to the way that you manage your team. 

Uncertainty is a recipe for poor mental health

COVID-19 wasn’t just a physical health crisis. The disruption of the pandemic triggered a surge in stress, anxiety and depression. At the height of the pandemic, 62% of the UK population reported feelings of worry. There were several major reasons for this, but they all had one thing in common: uncertainty about the future:

  • 34% of UK adults were concerned about losing their jobs
  • A third were worried about their long-term finances
  • 63% said that they were worried about the future in general

Things were even worse for those working in retail. Not only did they have to deal with the same anxieties as the rest of the nation, they also had to worry about the safety of themselves and their customers. At the same time, widespread job losses in the sector made the future seem more precarious than ever. Unsurprisingly, all of this took a serious toll:

  • 84% of retail colleagues said that their mental health deteriorated during the pandemic
  • 50% reported feeling pessimistic about the future
  • 91% of managers noticed an increase in mental health problems amongst colleagues

Better communication can ease colleague anxiety

If uncertainty is the biggest cause of anxiety, the remedy is better access to information. VoCoVo connects colleagues, both to each other and to HQ,  so they know that they aren’t missing out on any vital updates:

  • Our message casting feature allows Head Office to send updates to all stores at once. This means that colleagues can be informed of important developments immediately, rather than having to wait for the next team meeting. Knowing that they are being kept in the loop can help to ease colleagues’ worries about the future. 
  • Newer colleagues can ask questions via their headsets without having to track down a manager. This gives them the confidence to learn on the job without worrying about making a mistake. 
  • Our one to one calling feature allows colleagues to come to you with their concerns, even if you don’t have time for a face to face meeting. These conversations are completely private, so colleagues don’t have to worry about anyone else listening in. 
  • All of our devices have long-lasting batteries and don’t rely on an internet connection to function. This means that there is no chance of them giving out in the middle of a shift. Colleagues can work with complete confidence that their equipment won’t let them down. 

Find out more about VoCoVo’s features 

A sense of stability

The world is going through a period of immense change, and this is bound to have an effect on colleagues. Many of the things that will affect the retail sector are outside of our control, and we have to learn to accept this. The best thing we can do is make sure that our plans are flexible enough to cope with the unexpected. With VoCoVo on your side, you can be certain that everyone has the tools to cope with whatever the future brings. 

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Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

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