It’s no secret that the pandemic has transformed many workplaces around the world. Remote working, once relatively rare, is now common. While it has freed workers in many situations to be more creative, in other ways, it has proved to be challenging.
Maintaining staff morale when employees are working remotely isn’t easy. Without the structure and camaraderie of an office setting, many people can find working from home to be an isolating experience.
With the right approach and tools, however, managers can keep remote staff engaged and productive. It just takes a bit more effort than it does in an office setting. Here are a few ways to keep your remote workers and office staff feeling like a unified team.
It’s really all about communication. Start by spending time on Zoom or other videoconferencing apps to keep your team in the loop about what’s going on in the company and among your departments.
The video component adds a level of connection that voice calls alone can’t match. It also helps you get to know employees on a more personal level, such as when you see their pets or children in the background. Pay attention and comment on those things (in a positive way) to let staff know you value them as people, not just workers.
Don’t forget to let people know what’s happening. Whether it’s sales figures, product development or other pertinent information, stay as transparent as possible. This too helps workers feel connected to the company, just as they would in the office.
Recognize milestones, just as you would in the office. Celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries, holidays, and the like just as you do in the office. After all, 20 people singing “Happy Birthday” can be just as off-key on a video conference as they can be in person. And just as likely to raise a smile from the person being so honored.
Celebrate achievements as well, whether in sales, production, marketing or any other department. The more positive feedback you can share, the better. Be sure to recognize individual accomplishments, not just team goals.
When working remotely, it’s all too easy to get caught up in a constant work mode. Encourage your staff to take the same breaks they would if they were in the office. That includes uninterrupted time for lunch, to be taken offline.
Don’t focus only on work. It’s important to have fun occasionally as well. Encourage employees to share “water cooler” conversations and lighter moments virtually.
If you’re a manager, you know how challenging it can be to keep staff motivated and thinking positively under the best of circumstances. To maintain productivity and keep staff turnover to a minimum with remote work, it’s always important to remind employees that they and their contributions to the organization are both valued and appreciated.