This article is written by Marie Johnson, a contributor to Enlightened Digital
Working remotely presents plenty of unique challenges. It also provides you and your employees with a couple of special opportunities. One, you all can connect with co-workers on a level deeper than just work and two, you can relate to one another as the people you are at home. Transitioning to remote work can be difficult, especially if you have a great company culture in-office. Your employees are your company’s most vital asset. During tough and uncertain times, like a global pandemic, it’s important to do what you can to support them. Below are some curated tips to help keep your employees happy and engaged in their work while remote.
Promote video meetings
Chances are you and your employees took the social, in-person aspect of being at work for granted. It’s difficult to go from seeing people in the office five days a week to not seeing them for an indefinite amount of time. Thankfully, in the age of technology, there is a simple solution to that. Promote holding video meetings as the new normal for your company. While it’s not exactly the same as seeing one another in person, at least you’re still able to look at one another and interact in real-time. Being able to see one another helps keep your employees’ sentiment up and lets them fully engage with each other in a way that’s safe during a health crisis.
Spice up meetings
No one likes boring meetings. This becomes even more true when you have your phone, television, and other potential distractions nearby. Keep your employees engaged by spicing up your meetings with ice breakers. While the term may take some back to the awkward school introductions we all experienced during syllabus week, you can take things in a different direction by asking engaging questions and really getting to know one another outside of your roles at work. Your employees will appreciate you trying to get to know them, and the brief detour from monotonous work conversation will help to break up their day.
Encourage personal check-ins
Being restricted from socializing, interacting with people outside your home and going to certain places, can be especially hard. It all takes its toll on our mental wellness and can make it difficult for your employees to focus on their work. Make it a priority to check in with all of your employees on a regular basis and encourage managers to do the same. Taking a half-hour out of the day to connect one-on-one can greatly impact how your employees are feeling. Talk about things other than work and see how their personal lives are going. The best way to keep a company culture alive and employee engagement up, is to treat your employees like people and make sure they are personally doing well.
Regularly survey sentiment
In addition to personal check-ins, you should be polling your employees every so often to find out how they’re feeling. The survey topics can change depending on what’s happening at the time, but they are important to gauge how your employees are feeling at any given time. Ask them insightful questions to get the best results and always be sure to ask for feedback about what they do and don’t like. This helps to make your employees feel like they’re contributing to the company, even if they aren’t physically in the office.
Have some (healthy) competition
Interaction is key when your employees are remote; plus everyone loves some good, friendly competition. Post optional weekly challenges for your remote employees to complete. To help keep everyone both physically and mentally healthy, you can center the challenges and competition around those topics. One week could be whoever does the most pushups gets a coffee e-gift card. Another could ask employees to post pictures of their home workspace and have everyone vote on who has the best with the winner getting an Amazon e-gift card. The goal here is engagement and culture through some fun and friendly competition.
Working remotely doesn’t have to be isolating. By encouraging interaction and making the most of the technology and resources we have available to us, we can maintain employee engagement and preserve company culture as long as we remember that our employees are our greatest asset.