It’s Physical Distancing not Social Distancing- Don’t Leave Your Employees on an Island

Given everything that is going on right now with the Covid19 pandemic, you are urged to wear a mask and keep six feet away from other people to stop the spread of the virus.  Unfortunately, this gained the name of Social Distancing.  In reality, what is being suggested is physical distancing.

As a leader, you must encourage social interaction amongst your employees even if they have to stay six feet apart.  Here are three tips you can use as a leader to encourage social interaction, not social distancing.


1.  Schedule 10-15 minute calls with your employees

There is so much change going on and it may be hard for many of your employees to adapt to the change.  Realize that two months- sixty days ago they were working next to their co-workers and friends.  Then they were told to go home.  What???  They are socially distancing from their co-workers, not working shoulder to shoulder with them.

Many people need daily interaction with their co-workers.  They are not used to working at home.  It is lonely.  They are balancing the needs of their family and children along with work.  Yes, many companies are learning that their employees can work at home without losing productivity, but is from the perspective of the company, not the employee.

Take 2 hours during the week and set up back-to-back Zoom calls with your employees.  Don’t focus on how they are doing with work, ask how they are doing adapting to the new environment.  Find out if there are any barriers that you can remove as a leader.  Learn about any hobbies they might have.  Are there new activities they have begun during the pandemic?

2.  Have open and honest communication

I’ve spoken about this in previous blogs, but the human mind does not like uncertainty.  Our mind develops all kinds of worse case scenarios even though only about 4% of what we worry about ever happens.

Lacking information, employees will develop doom day scenarios.  Even if what you know is imperfect, share information with them.  Frame it from the backdrop of “Here’s what I know at this minute.  Could things change, yes.”

3.  Limit your social media intake

That may sound counter-intuitive since I’m suggesting you increase your social interaction with your employees.  Some horrendous things are occurring in the US right now.  It’s hard to keep a positive mind-set and be a positive role model when you are inundated with doom and gloom 24-7.

I think it is fine to spend a little time catching up but we consume social media that reaffirms our beliefs. Your company and your employees need you to be a strong leader right now.

Focus upon leading to the best of your ability and doing whatever you can to keep your company moving forward and your employees engaged.  That is a lot of heavy lifting.  It’s important to focus on the important aspects of running your business and leave the negative commentary to others.

As always, it is an honor to serve you and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!

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