When it comes to rebounding in a time of unprecedented change, many of us have the same key questions we’re working through: How do we mitigate risk (remotely or in-person), how do we realign, and how do we find and offer relief to our businesses and our people?

We’re breaking down the 3 Rs of rebounding right now:


Physical and Psychological Safety

It’s important to assess your risk whether your people are working remotely or still working physically onsite. If your people are working remotely, this may involve more considerations around psychological safety, where working onsite may mean considering more of the physical health and safety risks to mitigate. Despite their location, both physical and psychological safety should be considered because both are likely weighing heavily on your people’s minds.

What we know for certain is that people are all experiencing this time differently and it is critical for leaders to step up and leverage the entirety of their emotional intelligence to get their teams through this. We recommend leaders provide weekly video addresses to their people. When they know you’re looking out for them, they will look out for you. Being a people-centered business has always been our stance, but it’s more important than ever if your organization is to come out on the other side of this.

The Human Factor

Whether working remotely or very distantly in-person, we’re missing the in-between moments and conversations that happen when you bump into your teammate in the hallway. It’s important to facilitate those virtual “watercooler” moments by connecting over video chat to talk about how we’re doing, to make each other laugh, and to remind each other that we’re teammates not only in the work we do but in real life as well.

As we know, the need to physically distance ourselves is critical right now, which means finding new ways to socially connect us is even more important. Offering levity and a different headspace away from the crisis a powerful tool for recovery when we need it. In times of crisis, or ambiguity, you will see the true health of your culture and how well your organization is designed with exceptional clarity.

New Rules of Communication

On that note, try utilizing video in communications as much as possible – we all know how intention and tone can get lost in an email, a text, or over the phone. Plus, our attention is split more than ever. Video encourages us to completely focus on the moment we’re in.

Make sure connections, conversations, and check-ins have room for not only the work to get done but for humor, hope, and lightheartedness as well. Set up chat channels specifically for these different topics and types of connection so people can visit what they need.

Additionally, the power of a quick virtual huddle, stand-up, or check-in yield great returns. Generally, try to check in regularly on these three simple things:

  1. How are you feeling today? How’s it going?
  2. What is your capacity level today? Stress level?
  3. What support or relief do you need or can you give?

Measuring Performance

Ask yourself which measurements really matter right now and while working from home; these are likely different from what they were before. An element to pay special attention to right now is equity and workload distribution. We can’t all “see” the work that’s happening as easily as before, so planning workloads to avoid both burnout and boredom is key.

Draft Your Statement of Understanding

Setting expectations for what the work day, and what getting work done looks like now, is essential. Create as formal or informal a “policy” you need to clearly communicate the new expectations of how we’ll work and gather buy-in from your team. The goal is to collectively agree on our new statement of understanding and expectations of one another.


Consider Non-Layoff Cost-Cutting Options

When considering your options in this unprecedented time, your most important asset may seem like your largest expense, but there are many ways to reduce costs before reducing your workforce. A few initial ideas include:

  • Freezes (hiring, salary & benefit increases, matches, etc.)
  • Evaluate and re-negotiate with contractors, vendors, and suppliers
  • Take advantage of cost savings from normal employee attrition by waiting to replace roles (where possible)
  • Early retirement/voluntary departures
  • Voluntary and/or mandatory furloughs
  • Pay (reduce rates, eliminate overtime, etc.)
  • Role sharing (responsibility and pay temporarily shared/reduced)

For a more complete list of cost-cutting tactics to consider before deciding on a layoff, read our blog post about 40 Considerations to Reduce Costs & Avoid Layoffs.

Necessary Capabilities & Skills

Keep in mind the work that your business is doing based on what your customers need most right now. If you’re considering shifts, changes, or reductions of your workforce, factor in what you’re delivering to your customer and which capabilities and skills you need in order to do so.

Humanized Career Transition

When at all possible, avoiding a layoff is ideal. However, we know that layoffs are happening and we also know that they can be handled in a very human, empathetic, and expeditious way that cares for your people while quickly supporting them move on to their next opportunity.

If you’ve had to make this difficult decision for your organization, livingHR’s Humanized Career Transition Portal has support options that start free for small businesses under 50 employees and non-profits. Our portal helps people who were impacted by a layoff get employed fast, helps reduce unemployment costs, and offers resources to support financial and emotional wellbeing, as well as navigate unemployment and relief resources. Learn more here: Virtual Humanized Career Transition.

Compassion & Empathy In All Things

Change is difficult for most people in one way or another. Leading with compassion and empathy go a long way both from a humanity perspective and in protecting your brand for the future. When we all bounce back together, you’ll be glad you were among those who approached this situation with others in mind and preserved a place that people will want to return to.


Seek Local Government Relief Information

Financial and resource-based relief is becoming available for many communities, but looks different across the globe. Check your local government websites and connect with your financial institutions for the relief being made available specifically to your local businesses and people.

Give One Another Grace

Beyond financial relief, we’re searching for the relief we can offer to one another in the form of listening, understanding, and grace. We’re seeking reprieve from guilt. Some days, the real relief is the emotional support of knowing it’s ok for human moments to sneak into the work day. It’s ok to have a really productive day, to need a break, for the barking dog or the kids to make a guest appearance on a video chat.

One of the greatest gifts you can give your people right now is to lay down a foundation of understanding and vulnerability. We’re each taking this day-by-day in the best way we can. As leaders, we can create space for the fact that this looks different for every person and we can make that OK within our organizations.

– Keri Higgins-Bigelow, Founder & CEO of livingHR