Despite the global pandemic, advances in technology have allowed many workforces to work remotely. While some rejoice at the thought of taking their work anywhere, others still look for many of the in-office qualities that make working on-site vastly different from remote work. Because of this new reality, “the ability of teams to fully collaborate and build momentum is curtailed.” These qualities are why many remote workers try to bring these interactions from the office into their homes. Managers should try to look for new strategies to replicate how their workers interact with their coworkers from home.
An article from the Wall Street Journal titled, “What Bill Gates, Satya Nadella and Gen. Stanley McChrystal Say About Leading Through Uncertain Times” lists ways you can smoothly transition your in-office interactions to remote work engagement.
1. Avoid Triggering Burnout
Emphasizing regular breaks for your remote team could help reenergize them to continue putting forth their best effort. Mr. Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, emphasized “the need for regular breaks to replicate the physical and mental transition that occurs when an employee leaves a meeting to preserve cognitive function.” To avoid burnout throughout the day, encourage your employees to take a 10-15 minute break to come back refreshed and ready to be productive again. Leaders need to see that their remote employees are not taking a “vacation” while working out of the office. On top of preparing for work, they are also dealing with other disruptions at home, so mandating breaks would help ensure that their work quality is a priority.
To learn more about how to avoid burnout, read more here: Helping Your Remote Employees Preserve Work-Life Harmony
2. Continue Conversations Before & After the Meetings
Managers should continue to “recreate the conditions that occur before and after meetings” these can come in forms of “off-the-cuff conversations”- where leaders can create conversations outside of the regular scope of the meeting that inspires ideas for their employees. These conversations can help build an atmosphere of innovation and allow your employees to think “bigger” for their company. The conversations do not always have to be about the work agenda; leaders can use these moments to check-in on their employees and recognize their efforts. Even when you are not in a meeting, you should have the proper technology in place that will enable managers to send their employees public recognition. By creating an atmosphere of continuous dialogue, remote workers can still get a sense of being in-office, even if they are miles away.
3. Lead by Example
Our workforce is steadily changing; what seems to be the ‘norm’ is no longer adaptable in this new working environment. HR leaders and managers alike should understand that their employees are looking for new ways to remain engaged with their remote coworkers. Great leadership means humbling oneself and being open to new ideas from your employees. But, in order to create an environment where employees can share ideas with you, you have to make recognition a priority. Employees should feel comfortable sharing feedback with their leadership, and leadership should recognize them when they do so.
“Crisis is the great revealer; it is an often overlooked aspect to leadership.” During these times, leadership should try to incorporate better habits for their remote workers. It can only benefit the organization if both their on-site and remote employees feel their leadership cares about their interactions with each other.
Avoiding burnout by taking breaks, continuing conversations before and after meetings, and leading by example through recognition efforts are some of the few ways employees can replicate their interactions when working remotely. These methods can be achieved through a modernized system that helps build programs where managers can create efficient, productive, and engagement-boosting routines with their employees.