Keep Your Remote Employees Focused, Productive, and Happy
WRITTEN BY Danielle Otranto
Many of us are working from home right now and, whether we like it or not, it’s the reality for the foreseeable future. Some companies are already set up to have remote employees, but others were likely never planning to have a work-from-home structure. Sure, it’s easy enough to have everyone download Zoom and have a weekly check-in, but what about those hours in between? How do you ensure your employees are staying engaged, completing work, and not getting too distracted by the ever-present news reel or their pets and children?
We all want to keep everything running as smoothly as possible, so here are some insights on how to maintain employee engagement.
Keep everyone updated
They say the key to a good relationship is communication – that’s no different for a working relationship, especially a remote one. Whether it’s video, chat, phone, or email, you want to make sure you equip employees appropriately so that everyone knows what’s happening and when and you can be as transparent as possible.
Encourage video chats
We can all hop on the phone to have a meeting, but that meeting will likely be more impactful if everyone has their cameras activated. This way, everyone gets a much-needed dose of social interaction while also being encouraged to give their attention to the task at hand. And if there happens to be a dog barking in the background or a baby on someone’s lap, don’t get too frustrated; most people will be able to relate, smile or laugh, and move on.
Have a good work-from-home setup and others will follow
If you’re in a spot where working from home was never an option and suddenly you’re not allowed to go into the office, one of the best things you can do is create an effective work space. As a leader, you can set the example for your employees, especially on video calls. Some things to keep in mind: keep your workspace as clutter-free as possible, eliminate excess noise, invest in a headset if need be, and ensure there’s plenty of lighting.
Engaging remote workers starts with trust. If you’re checking in constantly or asking for to-do lists at the beginning and end of each day, your workers will feel discouraged, like children being babysat. It can be difficult, but letting go and placing your trust in employees will encourage them to maintain their same work ethic from the office and will eventually alleviate your stress of micromanaging.
Recognize good work
Now that everyone is remote, make sure if someone does something particularly valuable – a creative sales initiative, showing exceptional commitment to a project – you recognize it privately or publicly, depending on that person’s preference. By recognizing people, you’ll keep up morale and encourage engagement.
Stay friendly in the virtual office
One of the downsides (or upsides, depending on who you are) of remote working is the lack of social interaction. Water cooler chats can’t happen if there isn’t a water cooler…or can they? It’s 2020 - set up virtual coffee breaks or five-minute exercise breaks with a few of your colleagues!
Don’t let the idea of a solely-online workplace chat limit conversation either; encourage people to have non-work-related conversations every once in a while like they would in the office (“How did you spend your time social-distancing this weekend?”), communicate with GIFs and (work-appropriate) memes, or send a quick chat to someone about something you read that made you think of them. Even the most introverted people still want to feel a sense of community, especially right now.
The world is full of uncertainty at the moment and your team is likely feeling that uncertainty in the form of heightened anxiety, financial hardship, or emotional distress. Be mindful of it. Check in with everyone often about how they’re adjusting, their mood, and how they’re being affected professionally and personally. When your employees feel heard and cared for, they’ll be able to focus during office hours knowing their team leader, manager, or employer is there for them during these strange times.
If you’re still concerned about or want more information on keeping your employees engaged, reach out to your advisor (find him/her here: https://www.pimidlantic.com/our-team) about how we can continue to help.