Supporting your employees is an important part of creating a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. However, supporting your employees goes beyond providing periodic check-ins and providing mental health supports; it requires an everyday effort. With times of COVID-19, this may become more challenging with employees working from home and having to communicate with employees who are present while wearing masks. Here are a few ways to boost morale and develop rapport even when communicating with your employees while wearing a mask:
Avoid clear masks where possible
The use of clear masks can pose as a concern when communicating with employees, as they may feel concerned with being near you due to clear masks not providing ultimate protection. Clear masks also tend to fog up when speaking, thus creating a barrier when people are trying to understand you. Consider only using a clear mask in situations where you are communicating with a deaf individual(s).
Practice clarity in your speech
When wearing a mask your voice tends to become muffled, thus losing its clarity and making it harder for others to hear and understand you properly. Practice talking clearly when wearing a mask, including the volume and pronunciation of your words. Pause often when talking with a mask on to ensure that who you are communicating with is following what you are saying. Remember that where your voice is muffled when wearing a mask, the same applies to the person you are listening to who is also wearing a mask. Practice active listening to ensure you are understanding the other person and always asking for clarification where needed to ensure that there is no miscommunication.
These tips assist to positively communicate with your workforce amongst these challenging times. Consider incorporating these tips in your daily work practices to foster a more positive work environment. As always, put safety first and consider zoom meetings instead of face-to-face meetings where possible.