As we navigate the practices of social distancing and scramble to stay afloat, CEOs are pivoting and changing their mindset about how to lead effectively in the stay-at-home economy.
Here are several tips I recently gathered from successful leaders and founders to put into practice during these turbulent times.
1. Get outside
Chuck Runyon, co-founder of Self Esteem Brands -- parent company to Anytime Fitness among others -- describes Mother Nature as a personal trainer for your soul. Incorporating elements of nature into your daily routine can reduce stress, enhance creativity, and increase productivity.
Research agrees. In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, the simple act of walking outdoors led to increased creativity in 81% of participants.
2. Don't lose your brand message when going virtual
There's a mad rush for businesses to shift to an online experience to meet public demand. While there's immense value in it, many are losing their authentic message in the tech transition.
Brock Shinen, a prominent lawyer and author of the book, The Christian Entrepreneur: Dream, Plan, Execute, Grow, says the key strategy to surviving and thriving right now is "to preserve the core value and message of your business and see the online tools as a support for that core value and message, not replacement of it."
Shinen advises leaders to "adjust your tone, your grammar, and your use of different mediums (i.e., audio, video, etc.), but preserve your value and messaging."
3. Stay human
In a recent press conference on the spread of Covid-19, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, New York City Commissioner of Health, said, "While we may be asking New Yorkers to distance themselves physically, we're asking them to come together emotionally."
For Thimble, an on-demand insurance partner for small businesses and independent workers, that good advice means sticking to one of their core principles: stay human.
Jay Bregman, Thimble's founder and CEO, utilizes Zoom for daily check-ins with dogs and children visibly present and welcome. Thimble also holds virtual exercise classes and stays connected with its customer base through email by offering help and support.
Aaron Rasmussen, founder and CEO of Outlier.org, encourages his team to stay human by experimenting with fun ways to thrive while working from home, like sharing pictures of each of their home workspaces on Slack. Even outside of work time, his team (and their families) stay connected by synching their streaming services to watch a movie together.
"I like to make it explicitly okay to have kids on video calls. With people home, childcare is not always an option, so if that means an interruption now and then, or meeting your team's progeny, so be it. Plus, they're adorable," adds Rasmussen.
4. Help people cope
In a matter of weeks, the state of the U.S. workforce has radically changed, bringing with it an agitated emotional state we haven't experienced in this lifetime. Emplify, an employee engagement measurement software firm, recently surveyed 1,000 U.S. employees and found that more than half (57.7%) report feeling fearful, anxious and/or stressed.
To counter the stress, Stephanie Wernick Barker, president at national staffing agency Mondo has implemented the "Mondo Minute" -- a health and wellness campaign to reduce panic as her employees settle into the new normal. "We put a hold on everyone's calendar every day to pause for five minutes and provide tips to eliminate and cope with stress during these uncertain times," shared Barker.