COVID has sent everyone into quarantine. Companies have adopted remote work practices to keep their businesses open. As a result, work schedules have changed to ensure there are as few people working in offices as possible and many telecommuting. This shift has seen its fair share of challenges, key among them being employee engagement during a crisis.
The fact is, your workers have challenges telecommuting that they haven’t had to face before. If working remotely is fairly or totally new to your organization, it’s your responsibility to support your staff during this transitional period and beyond. The support you offer will go a long way to minimize some anxiety they may be experiencing.
This article will discuss ways to promote employee engagement and enhance productivity even during this crisis. Let’s take a look.
Building and Maintaining Employee Engagement During a Crisis
1. Emphasize the Importance of Work-Life Balance
Your remote employees may have a hard time establishing a healthy work-life balance.
Therefore, it’s crucial to stress the importance of creating boundaries. Emphasize the need to stick to regular work hours and know when to stop working until the following day. That will keep your staff engaged and productive.
Encourage employees to take regular breaks. Suggest engaging in fun activities such as playing Book of Ra online to destress and be ready for the next work session.
2. Hold Weekly Virtual Meetings
Working from home may be convenient, but it can also be boring. As an employer, you need to hold one-on-one meetings virtually as a way to keep remote employees engaged. Video conferences help to connect both office and remote employees.
Virtual video conferences have also been proven to create a sense of inclusion. As such, having them frequently, like every week, can give your employees a chance to engage in discussions and contribute their thoughts.
Make the meetings mandatory to ensure every person is present and engaged. Also, acknowledge and show your appreciation for your employees’ suggestions and ideas. Award bonuses, where deserved, to motivate your staff.
3. Team Building Activities
Another great technique to manage your remote employees is to foster team spirit regardless of the distance. It is important to find ways to maintain social interactions while keeping it fun creatively. Remote team-building activities are just the ticket.
People start feeling isolated when working remotely for extended periods. Encourage them to get social.
Try a meaningful team-building exercise like the Virtual Reciprocity Ring. The Virtual Reciprocity Ring teaches people how to access their networks for help and advice, and how to build new networks. It also gives them the opportunity to be generous givers, which makes people feel good.
Playing online team games with your remote team can be a great way to facilitate competition and productivity while telecommuting. Such games entail teams playing towards a common goal. The winners can be rewarded to keep it interesting. Games help employees feel included and part of a group, even from far, and expel the isolation factor. Team building activities can even keep them excited for the next event.
If you’d like to learn more about the Virtual Reciprocity Ring, download our solution sheet.Learn More
4. Allow Flexibility
You can also engage remote employees by encouraging flexibility.
While working from home, factors like the presence of young children in the household can affect productivity and engagement.
If a person has to look after kids all day and can be available for work in the evening, allow them to work at their most productive time.
Emphasize results. As long as the employee is performing on time and showing quality results, don’t pressure them to be available at your every call. This will keep them relaxed, more productive, and engaged.
5. Communicate With Your Remote Employees
Communication is what weaves a successful workplace.
- Ask how your employees are doing every time you talk.
- Encourage them to express the challenges they’re facing and address them promptly.
- Be social and easy to talk to, thus spurring them to come to you with their work-related issues.
- Put effort into fostering personal connections with your employees.
- Make them feel cared for as human beings and not just your staff. People need to be heard at a personal level, especially in these trying times.
- Be a good listener.
6. Send Weekly Updates on the Pandemic
During the pandemic where the whole world is impacted, it is only natural for your employees to feel scared due to the uncertainty of the future.
With people losing their jobs and businesses closing all around them, your staff needs to feel safe and reassured more than anything.
You can send an email on any company policy changes due to the pandemic to keep your employees updated.
Provide news and links that are beneficial to your staff. For instance, you can show them resources that can help with their health and wellness.
By sending weekly updates and encouragement, your employees will relax and not panic while working. Their focus will be on their jobs, and they will deliver.
Conclusion: How to Focus on Employee Engagement During a Crisis
The coronavirus pandemic has led to unprecedented changes for businesses. While everyone is required to practice social distancing and self-isolation, employers have to make the necessary adjustments to enable their employees to work from home. The allure of the remote working arrangement at first is undeniable, but it can lose its appeal with time, resulting in disengaged staff. And when it happens, their motivation and productivity can suffer tremendously.
Therefore, it’s up to you as a manager or employer to ensure your telecommuting team is engaged as they work from home, and our top tips can help you do that. We’d love to hear what you are doing to keep your remote workers enthusiastic during the COVID-19 pandemic.
About the Author
Thomas Glare is a leading HR consultant with a leading firm in Yorkshire, UK. He manages several employees and offers recruitment services for some of the top hotels in the country. He also advises employers on the rights of their employees, and ways to retain them.