COVID-19 Human Resources Leadership Reflection

Pause! Especially now.

Pause, look in the mirror, ask yourself and others a few challenging questions, and decide what’s the best way forward.

When I started writing this story, conversations of (partial) lockdowns were just starting to heat up again.

As I finish this story (I left it brewing for a few days), it looks like it’s going to be a winter full of lockdowns and working from home (again).

For many a blessing, for others a curse.

With every lockdown, it looks like the arguments on either side are becoming harsher. Positions have been taken, nobody is listening to the arguments of others, and only a few companies are doing what’s right.

My position is clear. Employers and employees need to strike a balance and find a solution that covers both their needs.

Striking a balance requires a deeper understanding of arguments on either side.

Deeper understanding only emerges when we’re willing to listen to the arguments of others, postpone judgment, and park our own beliefs for a while.

So, pause.

Just pause, before you rush into something that can destroy your culture and have people leave your company.

If you don’t believe that will happen, you’ve not been aware of the many cases and stories that have been spelled out on the internet. Even worse, you haven’t talked to your recruiters in a while.

They get the question daily from candidates what the company’s work-from-home policy is. And if too strict, many won’t join.

Pause and get off the work-from-home dance floor for a while.

Tell your people you’re not rushing into this because you want to make the right decisions reflecting their needs and yours.

Tell them that while Covid continues to show its ugly face, you will take the time to design a proper post-Covid policy.

Tell them that while taking the time, decisions about working-from-home are driven by government restrictions and managers’ judgment.

Make your managers the leaders of this process. Let them show ownership for their people and trust that they know their people best.

Yes, some of your managers are going to screw this up. And those are the people you’re thinking of right now.

But the majority won’t screw it up. The majority appreciates the trust and will make it work for you.

They’re the ones that are more productive in such a hybrid situation.

Because they feel that you hold them able to do the right thing, and when they feel trust, they hold themselves accountable.

So don’t let the good ones suffer because of a few bad apples. Those bad apples will also be bad apples when Covid is gone and your policy is in place.

Ask HR to guide the process and be in connection with your leaders.

Leaders lead. HR enables. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

And when you make this happen, your engagement levels shoot up. It’s that simple. You just need to overcome your own inability to trust and let go.

The world has changed. People have changed. Work has changed.

We may have to travel to work wearing a mouth mask for years to come. We may have to limit people in a meeting room for years to come.

Do the right thing and pause.

Pause, look in the mirror, ask yourself and others a few challenging questions, and decide what’s the best way forward.

Pause because you have time. You always have time.

Good things happen when you pause. Now is a good time to do so.

Your turn: when was the last time you ‘really’ paused? Why? What did you gain?

Do more of what makes you happy!


NB. This is the first publication in a series of ten connected to the 10 cues in my playbook “MIND.SET.GROW. – 10 life-changing cues for success and significance”.

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