The Coronavirus outbreak has forced many companies to embrace remote working conditions head-on, allowing as many people as possible to stay productive and keep the struggling economy trudging forward.
In 2017, nearly ⅓ of US workers said they could work from home (while only 5% did, at least 23% already did some work from home). Nonetheless, while not a new concept, the near instantaneous shift so many more have experienced is a tremendous shock to work cultures and lifestyles overall.
We’ve known for years that people say workplace and schedule flexibility is one of the most important qualities in a job. So, as more of us make this shift, temporarily to permanently, here are a few actions you as an employer can take to engage with, help, and keep employees adjusted to their new working conditions:
How to Engage Remote Employees: Stay Connected, Create Organized, Productive Home Workspaces, & Keep Up Morale
- Utilize video-conferencing
- Set up remote desktop technologies
- Use a Virtual Private Network for the business
- Set up file sharing
Of course, this isn’t just about technology to connect and keep tabs. Take the initiative to reach out directly and see if you can provide office supplies and tools to address and help improve their home office needs.
Employer-to-employee and peer-to-peer communication is essential. Beyond emails and instant messaging services, keeping people in connected entertaining ways can be a solid morale boost.
- Have contests where people share suggestions and photos of their home workspaces
- Share day-to-day suggestions to break up the monotony of the day
- Suggest a wellness challenge that can be done at home, encouraging personal health
Have contests where people share suggestions and photos of their home workspaces
Develop Trust: Stay Connected, Avoid Micromanaging, & Don’t Overstep Boundaries
- Schedule video-chat meetings at least once or twice per week
- Send out follow-ups summarizing what was discussed and reiterating assignments
- Assure management talks to each individual employee every day
- Be transparent, positive, and encouraging in your communications
- Guide and direct, but allow people breathing room to do their job (don’t babysit)
- Keep business communication limited to normal business hours
- Provide instructions on how to reach tech support when they need it
Managing a team remotely can be difficult and the last thing you want to do is micromanage and damage their feelings of being trusted with their responsibilities. Focus on things that will galvanize and bring people together while still getting.
Make sure to schedule video conferences at least once or twice per week
Leadership Sets the Tone & Helps Overcome Anxiety, Especially for Essential Employees
As a leader in your company, your strength and organization will help and encourage employees to keep their heads up and follow suit:
- Be organized and have a plan that all who hold leadership positions understands and can effectively disseminate to your employee body as a whole
- Keep communication lines open and emphasize inter-office social channels
- Be patient as employees adjust and settle into new conditions
- Reinforce your Core Values through words, actions, and public recognitions
- Tools like WorkProud are fantastic at helping you connect and showing appreciation, especially for those putting themselves at risk
Don’t Overlook Employee Experience & Engagement
Rolling out a significant new component of your employee’s everyday work lives can serve as a beacon for a positive company outlook and good things to come. Moreover, focusing on employee appreciation can make this time a lot better for everyone, maintain or even increase productivity, and cement loyalty.
While Monetary Recognition and Rewards are great, but especially in times like these, Non-Monetary Recognition will go a long way in making transitions easier and keeping employee morale high, while having minimal impact on your bank account.
Just Because Many of Us Are Working Alone, Doesn’t Mean We Are Alone
Change comes with growing pains, but the more proactive we are, the sooner we will find our new working grooves. Remember:
- This is new ground for everyone
- Nobody planned for this
- Working from home isn’t necessarily natural or easy: help teach and encourage
- Employee communication is essential
- Show through action and effort you have your employees’ best interests in mind
If you’d like to learn more about engaging remote employees using technology provided by Online Rewards, please contact us today.
How do you engage employees working from home?
Take these steps to keep your remote employees engaged: 1) Utilize technology! Make sure everyone stays connected with video conferencing and other vital cloud-based tools. 2) Don’t overstep boundaries and don’t micro-manage. 3) Align with leadership on how to set the “work-from-home” tone. 4) Don’t overlook employee recognition programs as a means to keep your remote employees engaged.