By Marie Johnson
Special Contributor, from Enlightened-Digital.com
The whole world is currently in a state of flux. As we’ve moved into fall and continue the fight against COVID-19 along with the regular flu season, we find ourselves holding our collective breath and hoping for the best. We’re also asking ourselves how we can possibly continue remote work.
Large groups of people offer the pandemic an advantage and make spread easier. With that in mind, many companies have opted to continue allowing employees to work from home. Some are even stating that work from home is the new normal.
As we all continue to adapt to this new situation, whether it’s temporary or permanent, those in management must also be asking themselves how they can keep employees connected and engaged when they aren’t meeting in person. Here are some of the ways you can encourage connectivity and engagement in a remote work setting.
Promote Frequent Video Meetings
The meetings you had scheduled every day of the week while in the office can still happen with everyone working from home. Thanks to current technology, those in-person meetings can easily translate into video meetings.
Hosting video meetings on whichever application your company chooses, and there are plenty of platforms out there, allows your employees to still see and interact with one another. The alternative, having them chat on your internal messaging system, will get old very quickly, as it fosters feelings of isolation and works against teamwork. Having frequent meetings over video lets your employees feel like they’re still a part of a team, keeps them easily connected to one another no matter where they’re located, and helps to keep them engaged in their job.
Encourage Goal Setting
Some companies worry that moving to remote work will lessen staff engagement and hinder productivity. To prevent either from happening, encourage your employees to set goals for themselves.
These goals can be either short or long term and can involve their work output or be focused on personal growth. Having something to work towards will give your employees an extra boost, especially if they’re able to accomplish their goals. If they don’t accomplish them, turn it into a reflective and learning experience instead of making them feel bad. Ask them what detriments led to it, what they learned, and encourage them to continue pursuing that goal.
This tip combines the others to allow you to stay on top of your employees in a friendly manner. Scheduling bi-weekly or monthly individual meetups with each of your employees allows you to better manage them and their needs.
During these, you can check on their goal progress, see how they’re feeling about work and working from home, ask about any obstacles or struggles, and also get to know them as people. Your employees will undoubtedly appreciate you trying to get to know them better and learning more about you in turn. It makes work a friendlier place and makes your employees want to put forth the best effort they can.
Add Fun, Non-Work Elements
While you host these video meetings and check-ins, it’s important for you to add some non-work-related elements in too. Your employees, who have been seeing the same faces for months on end, will enjoy the opportunity to interact with people outside of their home and immediate team.
Some ideas include hosting virtual happy hours to stay connected and unwind, playing trivia once a month during one of your team meetings, or even something as simple as asking a fun question that doesn’t relate to work at the end of each meeting and having everyone answer. While these might seem like small things, it gives your employees a break from what would normally be on their mind and helps them get to know their co-workers better.
We’re living through some tumultuous times. With the continued work from home trend having no end in sight, it’s important to promote connectivity and engagement even while remote. This can help your company’s culture transform from what it was in-office to something similar in the virtual world.
Author Bio: Marie is a UX Designer and technology writer from New York City. You’ll often find her either writing in her kitchen, or in Central Park sipping on a cappuccino and walking her French bulldog Ozzy.
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