Crisis Kitchen: Leadership from the Homeworking CEO

YUDU CEO, Richard Stephenson, shares his thoughts on crisis leadership during the coronavirus epidemic. Part 1 of The Crisis Kitchen Series.

Video Transcript

It's my job as CEO to keep staff morale high in these testing times. With all of our staff working from home, keeping everyone in the loop and making sure they feel part of a valued team. That is a central to that job.

I thought I would share our experience and thoughts.

Working from home for many is hard. For some, it is difficult to get the right privacy to work and juggle time with the kids that need home schooling or entertaining, but many are doing a great job adjusting.

Communications is the glue that cements the team and in this crisis we all have to go into overdrive.

How should we be doing it?

We are all figuring it out, but let me tell you how we are doing it.

We are holding bi-weekly 'Samlings', a Swedish word for a gathering that I have adopted. This is a Zoom multicasting video call for 30 mins each. Where staff can share, experience and see each other. We may increase the frequency as we gain more experience, and the feedback from the first one we held was very positive. It seems manageable to have up to 40 on the video share.

We have always been avid users of Slack and I am encouraging all the management teams to use the video feature more often.

We have set up Slack channels on Covid-19 to share news and for people to express their views and experiences and it is really well used.

We are running online 20 minute team games for fun over lunchtimes.

For employers it's not just about telling people what to do, it's very much about staff welfare. Many will be working from home for the first time and feel very uncertain of the protocols and miss the social interaction of the workplace. We are checking they have the right chairs, as the old dining room chair will not do for extended period of working. If they don't, we are getting them the right chair.

What are the key messages?

Communication isn't a cure but can help soften some of the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

Make sure there are plenty of team meeting over Skype or Slack or whatever medium your firm uses. The forum should allow staff to set out what they're working on and be able to ask for help from colleagues should they need it.

And it doesn't always have to be super serious. The Editor of the Daily Beast Noah Shachtman said: "Everyone should be jumping on Zoom at least once a day to see members of their team, smile at each other and provide the interaction that will keep us feeling connected. It's key to avoid feeling isolated and staying motivated."

Sharing updated facts, advice on how to stay safe and how you company is responding, and keep an eye out for those that are struggling to cope.

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