There are plenty of startup challenges during quarantine, which continue to affect companies on a daily basis. Even now that we’re slowly returning to something like normal, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Helping your startup stay alive — and gradually thrive, once things start getting back to normal — is probably your highest priority this period. On our part, after nailing down a few core points that founders and their teams should consider, we now want to draw your attention to an alternative subject. One that is equally important.
And that’s all about the fact that startup challenges during quarantine are not only business-oriented. At their core, startups consist of groups of talented people. People who work together, towards difficult and demanding goals. In this context, and in dealing with isolation and all the challenges that remote working entails, it’s by no means an easy task. Stress and anxiety come into the picture and can make things much more difficult to deal with; even for the strongest of minds among us.
Overcoming startup challenges during quarantine
When it comes to working from home, you certainly have to deal with some new hurdles. For example, you might find that communication between team members lacks efficiency. At least compared to the way you used to perform when the entire team was within arm’s reach, at the office.
Distractions of all types may also come into play. Working from home, in some cases, means you may not have a room to spare that will serve as your office. Consequently, using your living room as your office means that family members may unconsciously add to your distractions; and cause frustration. All of that, coupled with an inherent difficulty to unplug, as there is no borderline between your office and home, can establish a really challenging reality.
Isolation during this difficult period has been, and still is, more intense than ever before. But, the truth is social or ‘mental’ struggles undermining founders’ and teams’ performance, are not a new concept. Discussions on the importance of helping startups avoid failure caused by burnout or other mental strains, have been going on for years.
A few years ago, Jake Chapman, founder of Gelt Venture Capital, struck a chord with his article at TechCrunch. He did so, by shedding light on this sensitive topic. According to Jake, some of the major struggles that torment startup founders are mainly trivial; moving goalposts, handling financial risks involved and dealing with the common “I am my company” syndrome. It’s a challenge that, along with other struggles which add up to the list of issues that disorient team members, needs to be properly addressed. As Chapman aptly puts it:
“The mental health epidemic is real.”
And these days, we couldn’t agree more with his words.
Hopefully, there are some things you can do to help your team — and yourself — endure all these startup challenges during quarantine. Challenges that arise mostly from the fact that you’re working remotely.
Let’s discuss a few of them.
Help your team deal with startup challenges during quarantine
Be a good, active listener. There couldn’t be any other skill more crucial for a manager or head of a team to practice; especially during difficult times. Paying attention to what your team members are trying to communicate and doing your best to sense any difficulties they may be facing, will help you offer alternatives and solutions. Actively listening is understanding; we’ve said this time and again, in the past. And this understanding will save you the time and trouble, in advance.
Make sure you have a healthy task prioritization method in place
Apart from any extra rituals you may need to incorporate to your daily routine, make sure you place people over processes; as agile suggests. Include communication processes and other practical tips you may establish during remote working, to that mindset. All in all, your processes should help you improve team productivity. But now the context has changed. You and your team being virtually connected, is more crucial than ever before. Obsession over process wouldn’t work in any case; and it won’t be effective under lockdown conditions either. So, make sure you keep this ‘principle’ in mind and practice it, too.
Find alternative ways to support your team members, if needed
Want some extra ideas? Since we’re focusing on the strain from isolation some of your team members may be dealing with, why not empower them with a sense of belonging? That is, by setting intercommunication as a priority. Or you could even be proactive and ask if there is anything that would help them feel more connected, personally or as a team, in advance. Alternatively, you could consider offering virtual training of any kind. That could be of considerable help to your team. That is, inasmuch as how to deal with stress and anxiety during this period. That’s something we did for our teams, to absolutely no regret.
At Starttech, we pride ourselves on being extremely vigilant, right from the beginning of our current, common predicament. Our goal was to make sure all our team members had — and have — all the support they needed.
Among other things, we organized a webinar focused on the mental strains. It’s a kind of struggle some of us might be dealing with, during this period. That is, both consciously and subconsciously. Pavlos Stamboulides, is the CEO and founder of Psycholate and Testil.io and psychologist by education. He kindly delivered a webinar talk entitled: “How to manage stress and anxiety while in quarantine”. He helped connect the dots on what we might be feeling and dealing with; and what we could do about it. And he did that by giving practical advice on how to organize our daily routine, to mitigate uncomfortable feelings. We’re grateful to have team members like Pavlos to support us in such useful ways, during these challenging times.
Rise to the occasion
It’s safe to say that employee well-being and mental health in startup teams is more important than ever. And so, always remember that it’s important to stay alert and listen well to your people. That is, in order to deal with these kinds of startup challenges during quarantine.
The most important thing is to create a tangible support network for your team. This will actually be a part of your broad, authentic company culture; which, of course, should always keep the human side of the company at its core.
In the end, it’s all about building a resilient company, which is made up of resilient people. Team members that can thrive under any circumstances in this ever-changing, sometimes even crazy, world.