How Elite Digital is Caring for Employees Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

“In an environment where a lot of organizations have been forced to layoff, we have been getting creative and successfully leveraging skills within our organization to help ensure employees are not only thriving, but are also supported in every way possible.”

– Tara Katsavos, Elite Digital HR Manager

Through the fear and uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, it is more important now than ever before to make sure your employees feel safe and uplifted. Due to government regulations of self-isolation, most companies are enforcing a work-from-home policy to keep their employees safe. Elite Digital announced we’d be commencing working from home on March 13 – before most companies implemented this policy – as employee safety is our main priority.  

Although working remotely can be beneficial at times, it can be challenging for employees to stay productive and motivated over extended periods of time. As well, it can also be difficult to maintain employee morale while adapting to these changes. At Elite Digital, we’ve implemented several ways to stay connected with our staff and boost employee morale during these difficult times.  

Elite Digital office in Toronto

Constant Communication from the CEO

In a time of so much uncertainty, hearing directly from the management team can help put your employees’ minds at ease and clear up confusion. In an effort to stay connected and involved with the Elite Digital team, CEO Rob Burko posts weekly video messages to address the entire staff with company news, positive messages, and answers to any questions that staff may have.

Robert Burko communicating to employees about COVID-19

Access to Employee Resources and Information Regarding the Pandemic

Elite Digital purposely separated Slack channels and created “COVID-19” specific channels to provide people a mental break from being inundated with messaging regarding the topic. In addition, we focused on promoting our highly accessible Employee Assistance Program (EAP), paid for by Elite Digital. We’ve ensured that employees are regularly reminded to use this platform, which is made easily accessible to get employees in touch with qualified experts to talk with regarding mental health and other resources. 

We also have a  direct link right in our Employee Self Serve Information System (BambooHR) – Connecting employees to reliable/credible information resources such as WHO, Public Health Ontario, etc. Most importantly, we have been periodically sending out wellness surveys to enhance knowledge on specific employee needs relating to being able to work from home successfully and mental health, and adjusting processes based on the feedback that we receive.

Access to Skill-Building Resources

With new regulations encouraging people to stay indoors, limit outdoor activity and avoid socialization, it’s crucial for your employees to find creative ways to stimulate their brains outside of work hours. As well, with so much more free time than they’re typically used to, it can be a great opportunity to learn and develop new skills. 

In an effort to keep our employees engaged and motivated to build skills that are both marketing-related and recreational, we’ve registered for memberships to a wide range of online skill-building courses such as Masterclass, SkillShare and HeadSpace. These programs offer online classes for a long list of skills and hobbies, from campaign strategy and entrepreneurship to art and interior design. By offering our employees the ability to learn and develop new skills in their free time, we hope to help our employees stay busy and productive while they cope with this challenging and unprecedented situation.

Masterclass screenshot

Virtual Hangouts

Although we can’t physically be together, we’re not letting that stop us celebrating employee milestones. To make sure we’re acknowledging all of the birthdays that would otherwise be celebrated in person, we’re hosting a monthly virtual birthday party in honour of all of the employee birthdays within that month. This virtual get together is open to any Elite employee that wants to join and allows staff to celebrate their friends and catch up with the team as a whole.

Along with this monthly event, we also encourage other more frequent virtual hangouts between departments, managers or teams. These video conferences are a great way to stay connected and check in with our Elite family.

Elite Digital zoom chat

Weekly Lunch and Learns

Not everything slows down during a pandemic. The Elite Digital executive team saw this as the perfect time to ramp up the company’s ongoing efforts to educate their employees. As such, the Elite Digital staff have the option to attend virtual lunch and learns, once a week, where they can learn everything from SEO, development, client management, social media, marketing strategy, and more.

The Elite Digital Virtual House Cup

Last year, Elite Digital hosted a “House Cup”, where staff were divided up into several different teams to compete in a series of exciting competitions to help strengthen employee bonds and provide some respite from day to day work stresses. This year, despite being stuck inside, the Elite Digital team has decided to host a “Virtual House Cup”, where employees will face off against each other in cyberspace for the chance to win it all! The House Cup has become a staple in the lives of Elite Digital employees, and we’re happy to be able to continue this tradition while working from home and staying safe.

Elite Digital House Cup logo
Elite Digital employees playing Jackbox.tv

Bonuses to Help Cover Costs of Essentials

As soon as the government mandated that businesses shut their doors and employees work from home where possible, Elite Digital staff were given ample time to pack-up essential work belongings (such as their second monitors). To ensure employees had the equipment they needed to successfully work from home, they were provided with an Uber credit to ensure they didn’t have to take public transportation to collect their equipment. Soon after, every employee at Elite Digital was provided with a small bonus to help cover the costs of essentials such as food, household products, and more, during their time in isolation. 

Digital Content Manager Burke Dorman said: “The small bonus given to every employee really speaks volumes about the executive team at Elite Digital. They will do everything in their power to ensure that we feel safe and comfortable all of the time, especially during times of crisis.”

Regular Check-Ins from Management and Executives

One of the most important things to focus on to boost employee morale during COVID-19 is to maintain constant communication with your staff. Making sure that your managers are communicating with their team members to discuss work matters as well as to check in on their personal well being is of the utmost importance. 

Whether this is done through phone calls, text messages or video chats, constant communication between team members and managers is crucial for maintaining work productivity, managing tasks and meeting deadlines. As well, having managers check in on their team members to ask how they’re doing lets them know that their manager values them and cares about their mental wellness. After all, Elite is as much of a family as it is a workplace.

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing many businesses to re-think their relationships with their employees. We at Elite Digital are incredibly proud and grateful for the support provided by our CEO, HR department, and executive team during these stressful times. All of these efforts go a long way in boosting the mental and physical wellbeing of staff. As a result, we are able to continue providing best-in-class services to our clients at a time when they need it most.

“Caring for the physical and mental wellbeing of our Elite family is of paramount importance. I will always do everything in my power to support our team in every way, especially while we face this unprecedented situation together.” 

-Robert Burko, CEO of Elite Digital

Want tips on managing your business during the outbreak? Learn more on our blog!

About Alexis Soer

SEO Strategist & Content Creator at Elite Digital

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