Working remotely is the new normal; both employers and employees have embraced it. Aren’t we just tired of hearing it – ‘the new normal’? It might be a few weeks before we get back to our physical offices and even longer till everything becomes normal, if that!
Is telecommuting working out well for all of us? If we simply transplant the way we did things in the office to the work from home (WFH) environment, it’s going to create problems. It will cause friction, giving rise to miscommunication, conflicts, and hampering business operations and progress.
So what can organizations do ensure smooth operations? We have thought of 4 key ways to ensure smooth WFH operations and remote employee engagement.
We will be organizing a webinar along these lines titled ‘Remote employee engagement: 4 ways to tap into employee ideas’. Join us on Wednesday, June 17th, at 11:00 AM (CST).
Here are 4 important tips to ensure your remote staff is engaged, motivated, and productive
1. Share more from the top
This pandemic has caused a lot of disruption in the workplace and to normal work styles. Although communication has not stopped, and we’ve found various alternative channels such as Slack, Zoom, Skype, etc., it is not the same as before. What you can do is, have virtual townhalls or all-hands, you should not be reducing the number for these since everyone is remote. In fact, we suggest increasing the frequency. Let your employees hear from the management team, update them of developments, and assuage their concerns. When devising any new action plans, invite suggestions from your employees, let them contribute. We are all in this together.
2. Increase passive transparency
With your entire workforce telecommuting, it may be hard sometimes to track what projects are underway, who is working on which project, deadlines, etc. It’ll be worthwhile to have or create a system that can display all of this information. It does not have to be a big and costly affair where you make changes to your HRIS or internal tool. It can be an internal page or an email update. This will make things easier for employees and teams that are especially collaborating on multiple projects. This will make communication and collaboration more comfortable and reduce employee anxiety.
3. Handle your difficult conversations
Everybody is on edge and worried about what the future holds. It now seems we may have to just co-exist with COVID-19, at least till we have a vaccine. Many organizations may have to let go of employees, go for pay cuts, hold off on raises, promotions, etc. These are all difficult situations, but times are such, and they need to be handled delicately. Do not shy away from these difficult conversations, be empathetic, lay all the truth out to your employees.
Many employees have stepped up and are handling more responsibilities, doing their best to keep things moving. Support these employees, give them all the necessary training and tools to do their jobs. Organize training sessions; practice runs internally to give your employees the confidence they need.
4. Avoid friction
For many employees, remote working is new and will take some getting used to. This may sometimes result in delays, disrupted timelines, internal conflicts, duplication of effort, etc. All employees need to understand the importance of conflict management and resolution. Long-lasting conflicts can hamper team relations, performance, morale, etc. It’s best to resolve any issues or conflicts immediately to ensure smooth operations. Keep apprised your managers and team members of any issues so that they can present solutions and solve any problems.
We have various resources that you can use in these trying teams to keep your staff motivated and engaged. You may view and make use of these from our coronavirus resources page.