We are all aware that the pandemic is reshaping the ways teams work and communicate. Before the pandemics, remote work was only offered to a few as an option, and now it has kinda become a norm for many businesses.
Working from home is not a privilege or an option nowadays. Right after the WHO announced that COVID-19 reached the pandemic status, it has become a norm, and since then the government has only urged to prevent the spreading of the virus.
Having the right technology tools and equipment in place for your remote team is quite essential, but it has to come with a plan for keeping the employees engaged and maintaining focus at work. Considering most families are quarantined at home together, many employees are facing more distractions that there were before. Besides, many are concerned about their safety and health, so it’s important to be mindful of how fears may affect someone’s productivity at this time.
To help you keep everything in check and have the operations run smoothly as you and your team get used to the new normal, here is some advice on how to keep your workforce engaged while working remotely.
Keep everyone informed and updated
In order to be successful as a remote team, transparent communication is crucial. This is necessary as the pandemic situation unfolds and changes. You will need multiple ways to reach employees, whether via email or video call, but also avoid overcommunication and micromanagement.
It’s easy to keep the regular meetings with many video conferencing tools available, like Google Hangouts and Zoom. Try to encourage your employees to turn their cameras on so you can get some face-to-face time and much needed social interaction.
Don’t worry about the background noise, like your pet barking or kids screaming, it’s actually a way of bonding since many of us have similar issues.
Set a good example
If you want to be a good leader, you must lead by example. Let’s talk about the situation where your team is not used to working from home, then you, as a good leader, should model what a good work environment looks like, especially during video conferences.
Let other employees see how a good work setup at home can be, and maybe you will encourage them to be more organized and to set up their home office better.
Maintain friendly interaction
With people being isolated in their homes, it’s easy for the hours to pass by without taking any break from work. Virtual coffee chats might be a good idea, with team members enjoying some non-work-related conversation in the breaks.
Get their feedback on how they’re doing and feeling
Keeping track of emotions is very important in these times. You should be compassionate and always keep in mind that it might take some time for employees to adjust to the change. Surveys might be a good option, so you can see how your employees are feeling and what they think of remote working.
Every employee likes to know they are appreciated. Recognition for the work remote employees do is a very direct way of letting them know you care about them. Thanking and rewarding them can feel like a reinforcement, but a unique, personalized gift can have a massive impact.
Since you’re not in the office, you will need to find new ways of expressing gratitude. Is it someone’s birthday? Send that employee a virtual card! Did someone ace a task? Schedule a team call and recognize their performance. Find simple acts to show them you care.
Gamify your teamwork
Applying game-playing elements in nongame environments or gamification is a popular tactic for companies to encourage engagements in a fun and easy way. Those same tactics can be applied to competition encouraging and rewards for everyday activities and can be a quite effective employee engagement strategy.
The key to keeping your workforce engaged while working remotely is leading by example. Engaging leaders produce and influence engaged employees.
By showing your team that you care, are open for communication and discussion, that you are there for them and you treat them with trust and respect, you will encourage the same type of behavior within your employees.
Techniques and complicated methods can only help so far, but a good leader who cares about their team is what matters the most.