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1/14/21 3:00 PM Guest Blogger: John Ross

COVID-19 has caused unprecedented challenges for businesses. Managers are finding it hard to keep employees motivated while working from home, and alternatively keeping those safe who are in the office. In this article we discuss best practices to empower your employees and keep them safe both at home and in the office.

 

 

Tip #1: Invest In Your Employees

One of the most effective ways you can empower your employees and create a positive Safety Culture as an owner or manager is to invest in them. Helping them to further their education is going to be a huge boost to their confidence, loyalty, and performance. Investing in their education and future will show them that you appreciate the job they have been doing and that you want them to be an even more important asset to the organization.

 

There are many ways you can go about this, but the most popular way is to help them obtain either their MBA, a professional certification like CPA, or help them prepare for some other qualifying exam. While MBA programs can be extremely expensive, and it may not be feasible for your business to pay for their tuition in full, you could offer to subsidize or match their tuition. This would make their academic goals easier to finance.

 

You could also help them get professionally certified, or even prep for other professional exams. For example, in an office environment, you may find it a good investment to purchase a GMAT prep course for your high-performance associates. This would enable them to prep more effectively for the GMAT and thus get into a better MBA program, benefitting your business down the road.

 

Another great way to help them reach their educational goals is to work more directly with them on a day to day basis. For example, if they traditionally work steady hours, perhaps a variable schedule that permits them to take some courses during the day would be beneficial. Flex their hours around classes and be sensitive to their needs come exam time, allowing time off for studying and testing.

 

One last note here is to provide your team members with clear paths for growth within the company or organization. This shows them that you not only want to invest in them as a loyal team member but that you have put thought into a plan of advancement for them. The last thing you want to happen with good talent and priceless analytical reasoning is to let it stagnate and eventually leave. They can only grow if there is room.

 

Tip #2: Harness Employees’ Strengths

Another great way to empower and motivate your employees is to let them know you believe in them. You have a team of talented individuals, so discover what each of them does best and find ways to encourage growth in those areas. Once you know where each employees’ strengths lie, bring everyone together so they can encourage each other and collaborate on different projects. Learn how to synergize their talents in workgroups, so that they achieve more together.

 

Along with believing in your team, it’s important that you are trusting them with tasks that they can handle without being micromanaged. Be sure that you give constructive criticism, so they know where they are excelling and where they could use improvement. It is also helpful to let them know when they are doing a good job. Knowing you’re doing well and hearing it are completely different, so be sure to keep up that positive encouragement whenever possible.

 

Tip #3: Inspire Innovation

Inspire creative thinking and problem-solving. When you empower your team to overcome challenges and solve problems in new and innovative ways, you help them to overcome old thought paradigms and think outside the box. Just because you have always done something a certain way, and it has worked well, does not necessarily mean that there aren’t other ways to do it that maybe even more effective.

 

Expand your team’s boundaries and limits and let them roam a bit. You may be surprised at the new ways things start getting done, and how easily old challenges are solved with new and elegant solutions when you don’t mandate that things get done in a particular way.

 

Tip #4: Utilize Proper Ergonomics

If you are behind a desk for an extended amount of time, there is a good chance that you may experience soreness in your hands, wrists, neck, back, or a combination. Proper office ergonomics are crucial in keeping your joints and muscles comfortable while you’re working. From how you are sitting to how your equipment is set up, there are many ways you can improve your ergonomics.

 

Setting up your desk so that you are following proper office ergonomics will make you much more comfortable while you work. Make sure you are using an adjustable chair that is supportive of your spinal curves; the height should be adjusted so that your feet are flat on the floor and your thighs are parallel to the floor.

 

Ensure anything that you use often is easily within reach so you don’t have to lean and bend to reach most of your materials. The positioning of your monitor is important as well. The monitor should be about an arm’s length away with the top of the screen at or just below eye level. If you spend a lot of your workday on the phone, consider using a headset or speaker so that you can type or write at the same time rather than holding the device between your head and shoulder.

 

Tip #5: Watch For Slip And Falls

It may sound like the same old song, but slip and falls are still the leading cause of injuries in the workplace. They are not always caused by negligence; sometimes they are simply accidents, but with some extra care and attention, they can be minimized or prevented entirely.

 

Injuries from slips, trips, and falls can range widely in severity. Minor injuries will include things like bruises, scrapes, and abrasions, and while painful they will not frequently need any medical attention beyond basic first aid. More serious injuries can include dislocations, broken bones, and even injuries to the head, neck, and back. Injuries like this can require extended recovery times, surgeries, or even ongoing physical therapy to fully heal from. As such, it is critical you do your best to mitigate such accidents.

 

Slipping hazards are typically caused by dropped or spilled liquids on tile floors in areas like kitchens, break rooms, and bathrooms. Tripping can also happen in an office environment, either from trash or refuse in a walkway, to a dropped sheet of paper on the carpeting. Other common tripping hazards include poorly secured carpeting edges, rugs, and entryway floor runners, and damaged or missing tiles in entryways. Do your best to minimize the potential for such hazards and keep your employees safe in the workplace.