Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs During A Global Pandemic

April 19, 2021

Humans are happiest when they feel safe and secure. Employees do too. It’s not that leaders don’t think of their employees as humans, but they do tend to focus more on business- the bottom line- productivity, meeting goals.

Post-pandemic, the key question becomes … how do leaders transition their employees back to working face-to-face?

Safe and Secure


There is no question that all industries, professions and lifestyles will create a new norm in our post-pandemic society. The CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus apply to any contagious disease. We’ve just not been paying close attention to them. So now is a good time for leaders to emphasize- if you are sick, stay home! It should not matter if the illness is a cold, flu or covid. A healthy workplace is obviously more productive. And employees will feel safer if they know that they are less likely to get sick at work- and potentially bring those germs and viruses home to vulnerable family members.

Before the pandemic struck, technology was moving business into remote work, and hybrid models. Some businesses embraced the ideas, others hesitated. Those who had embraced the idea barely missed a step in working through a pandemic. Those who hesitated learned quickly that overall, remote work, and hybrid models worked- and usually worked well! Employees will feel more safe and secure knowing that their new norm will include the recent changes in policies and procedures created during the pandemic.

Team members that feel appreciated and respected will work harder and more efficient. Good leaders know this- Great leaders model it.

Employees were better able to create a work/life balance, to keep themselves and loved ones safe from potentially deadly diseases. Working from home eliminated commutes so team members could re-distribute time spent in travel, to time spent with family, friends, or even themselves! Leaders were also able to create a better work/life balance personally, and professionally they saved money by lowering attrition rates, and in some cases basic overhead like office rent and utilities.

Leaders clearly should carefully consider the aspects of remote work and hybrid work that functioned well in meeting company goals, as well as those that met the needs of the human employees. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. So, as always, leaders and their teams should strive to be empathetic and flexible.


The thousands and thousands of people who lost work during the pandemic made national headlines. Moving forward, team members will feel safe and secure knowing their employers have instituted plans to keep them employed now, and if something like this should occur again. Team members care about fiscal responsibility both at home and at work. Leaders should be explicit in explaining the steps implemented to provide for fiscal continuity.


The combination of achieving physical and fiscal safety contributes greatly to a team member’s emotional safety and security. Obviously, one’s emotional and mental health cannot be trivialized, but knowing diseases will not be spread and paychecks will continue can allow team members to focus more carefully on emotional and mental health. Leaders should continue to be empathetic in these situations. This is important not only to protect the company and the business it conducts, but because it is a way to respect the human in Human Resources.

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