If in past weeks your office has had to adjust to remote work, there can be many challenges. How can you ensure your team is productive, feeling engaged and happy, and that they are unified under a common goal. If team building fosters connection, productivity, and a more creative output, remote work can unfortunately foster the opposite. Being able to see your coworkers on a daily basis, helps create solidarity and engagement. According to Atlassian, 94% of workers said that “mutual respect and connection are critical to their team’s success” and that 19% said “it’s the number one factor in their sense of well-being at work.” For companies that have switched to a remote model over the course of a few weeks, connecting your team important. Here are some tips for how you can keep your employees engaged and happy during this transition.
Ask yourself what type of engagement your team needs.
Atlassian organizes virtual engagement into three categories: real-time vs. asynchronous, practical vs. just-for-fun, and one-hit-wonder vs. on the regular. Your team will benefit from a combination of them: routine is important, but it’s also great to shake things up. While getting your whole team together in person is crucial, asynchronous engagement may better suit some of your employees’ subjects. Open your company meetings with a quick icebreaker, put together a monthly book club, or organize a professional development series. For more ideas, see “15 Virtual Team Building Activities Your Remote Team Will Love.”
Check in more frequently.
When some or all of your employees are working from home, more frequent check-ins keep employees engaged and motivated, and face-to-face check-ins are all the more meaningful. Did you use to have a conference call once a week? Try hosting it on Zoom or Google Hangouts! Didn’t have a standing, company-wide meeting before? Try implementing one now.
Not only is it important to check in on your employee’s engagement, but it is also important to check in for the sake of their well-being. Under the current conditions we’re facing, people are experiencing worries and anxieties that they may not have faced before. It’s important to try your best to make sure your employees are comfortable in their new work setting. Do they have adequate access to WiFi? Do they have a work space that allows them to work comfortably? What can you do to make any of the working-from-home adjustments more seamless?
Don’t lose sight of structure and expectations.
As in an office setting, routine and structure are integral to meeting employee expectations and setting expectations for your employees. When your employees are working remotely, they may feel further afield without a clear set of expectations for how and when to check in, send in updates on projects, or propose a new idea. Additionally, providing your remote employees with a sense of responsibility is also important. According to Bambhoor, “The combination of a service role with a remote location can make an employee feel like a cog in the machine, only called upon to do their specific task and otherwise forgotten. Assigning more responsibility to remote staff does a number of beneficial things: it makes them feel valued, it gives them purpose, it adds to their career experience, and it guarantees more communication and opportunities for contribution outside of their main role.”
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