We knew it was a possibility that there would be a second wave and here it is.  It is probably fair to say that COVID will remain in our community for some time and it’s important that we take relevant precautions to protect those who are most vulnerable but also to protect physical and mental health during this strange time.


In Victoria we have teams who are back in lock down, so it’s another series of home schooling, working from home and restricted movements.  There are hotspots popping up in NSW and we now have small clusters in other locations. Unfortunately nobody is immune to this and it’s not going away anytime soon. So we need to keep adjusting and progressing as best we can.


Recently Anna Chipperfield, John Knight and Leadership Coach/Psychologist Margie Ireland had a robust discussion about this second wave and things to think about and you can watch the Calm Covid Convo video or read the key takeaways below.

key takeaways

Below is a list of strategies and actions that as business owners and leaders, it is worth considering as we tackle the next little while.

safety first

  • Ensure that you have your COVID PLAN in place.  This may be very simple or more complex depending on your business.  It should in its simplest form cover off safe distancing, hygiene and dealing with anyone who has been exposed to or contracts COVID-19.
  • Roll out some training on the plan and ensure your team understand their responsibilities.  If each individual takes the relevant and required precautions, the outcomes will be a lot more positive.
  • Go to the safety authority in your state to download sample documents for this.
  • Get feedback from your team on how they are feeling, are they feeling safe?

working from home

  • Businesses may have scrambled last time, to have processes in place for WFH and its possible that many employees may have needed to set up on their kitchen table.
  • We have no excuse to be more prepared this time.
  • The home office is an extension of the workplace and all policies and procedures apply.
  • Make sure your team have carried out proper working from home and ergonomic checklists.
  • Again, roll out some training on this and ensure the team have the forum for asking questions.

employee engagement

  • Check in with your team members on a regular basis, depending on the team this could be daily, or every second day.
  • Ask questions such as, how are you feeling, what are your roadblocks, are you concerned about anything in particular.  What are you able to get done today?
  • Don’t forget people could have their kids at home with them, so the work day may be different to the usual.  Outcome based measures are the best way to approach this.
  • Aim to have some social interaction, perhaps online bingo or just Friday afternoon drinks and a chat.  This will help with connections and isolation.

communicate, communicate!

  • Share the plan, even if it’s the next 3 months, short term right now is fine.
  • Give your team some certainty, even if it’s as simple as – we have job keeper in place until September and then we expect it to be extended.
  • Don’t sugar coat things too much, if you know that certain aspects are uncertain, then share this – transparency is key.
  • When broadcasting information, make sure team members have someone they can go to, separately to discuss their individual issues or questions.
  • Update your team regularly, this could be as much as daily or weekly, depending on your situation.
  • There is no limit to compassion, the more you give the more you get.  Team members need Psychological safety to open up and share their anxieties.
  • Break down into smaller teams to get more interaction
  • As leaders make sure you are talking about things with your peers, you have anxieties also.
  • Think of creating a A, B, C focus groups who you give a problem to solve, you will be surprised what different team members will come up with.
  • Every team member will handle a crisis differently, it is not a one size fits all.

what did we learn from the last lockdown?

  • We can pivot, we know we can get you working from home quickly if we need to.
  • Some people can be more productive working from home.
  • We did get into habits that weren’t helpful (i.e. beer o clock started earlier in the day) we need to make sure we set boundaries.
  • Keep to a routine. Like getting dressed in work clothes, having a lunch break.
  • Workplace Health and Safety and working from home.  We can improve on this and make sure we get this right this time to make the experience better for everyone.

emotional intelligence

  • Leaders should have good awareness as to how they show up and insights about how you deal with stress
  • Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with your team
  • Decisions do not need to be made in the moment, take your time.
  • We are meant to go into protective mode, when we are under threat and this may show up as a physical reaction.  To have colleagues that are both noticing these signs and be able to talk to you, is really important and visa versa.
  • Don’t let the stress compound and if we are seeing different behaviours, talk to that person.
  • Conflict isn’t always negative, it can be quite helpful if you have trust within a team (Check out the model here)
  • It’s okay if you don’t have the answers as a leader
  • Have real and honest conversations, asking someone a simple question such as how are you, you don’t seem yourself, what’s happening?  OR this is what I’m seeing, what’s going on?

balancing your business with the needs of your team

  • If you have trust people are likely to be more productive, how can you work on the trust.  Take a look at the model by Patrick Lecioni ‘The five dysfunctions of a team‘.
  • Create an environment where there are boundaries and people can say no, if they need to.
  • Consider the individual’s situation – it is not a one size fits all
  • Have discussions with people about expectations and how team members are going to fulfill their role.
  • Share at least the next 6 months (or maybe it’s the next 3 months) let your team know where you are heading and what you think things will look like.


During our Calm Covid Convo, Margie Ireland mentioned mindfulness.  There is a lot of evidence to suggest that even the shortest period of mindfulness can help people slow down, switch on the logical brain and in turn, make better decisions. Share some of the following apps with your team – Smiling minds, Calm, Simple Habits, Headspace.

For more tips relating to managing your team, Margie has provided a couple of handy tools that you can access via her website.

Team mental health checklist

Team engagement healthcheck

And most importantly, it’s not easy being the leader so don’t forget to be kind to yourself and cut yourself a bit of slack.  The majority of you are doing the best you can and sometimes that is enough. If you need any help though, check out our array of business services and do not hesitate to reach out.


Originally authored by Anna Chipperfield.