Although remote work used to be offered by some companies, it has recently become a necessity for most. Of all the impacts brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, one of the less anticipated is finding the best ways to connect and engage with your employees now working remotely. How do you continue to manage effectively, while also avoiding stepping into the realm of micro-management?
Communication is the key factor for establishing and maintaining employee engagement. There are efficient ways to maintain communication with remote workers without it feeling forced or laborious. Here are the best ways to communicate and engage with your employees during the era of social distancing and Zoom meetings.
1. Schedule more calls and video meetings
Although the lure of working from home is exciting, its novelty can eventually wear off. It’s easy to find yourself missing an integral part of everyday work life: personal interaction. Therefore, it’s crucial not to underestimate the power of verbal and visual communication. Scheduling more phone and video meetings is a way to maintain some of the normality of human interaction. Hearing someone else’s voice or seeing them live on a screen is a grounding, helpful reminder of your role and importance to the company.
2. Create a budget for improving home offices
It can be as simple as sending your employees office supplies or allocating an amount to improve their home workspace. This practice also helps to make employees more effective at their jobs by providing them the resources they need. It serves a dual purpose: boost morale and make employees feel more comfortable in their at-home workspace.
3. Focus on what’s being produced rather than when
As we face a rather ambiguous time, we may also face more ambiguous work timelines. You’ll (hopefully) find yourself having time to work on side projects you haven’t been able to get around to. In these cases, take opportunities to acknowledge the quality of work your employees are producing. Remind both the employee and the rest of the company of the value of their contributions. Putting out positive energy is a return investment.
4. Define clear goals every week
Emphasizing clear goals at the beginning of every week sets the right tone for the rest of the week. Directions can sometimes be lost in translation without the face-to-face connection. Defining the expectations you have of your employees helps them, which ultimately helps you.
5. Take virtual coffee breaks
Bring back some of the normality of day-to-day work life. Encourage employees to video chat with one another when taking short breaks. Checking in regularly with your workers is a small, but necessary, action to take. Routine check-ins are a great way to help your employees overcome challenges and feel more comfortable to reach out for help when they need it.
You may feel as though you’re making this up as you go along. But rest assured, you’re not alone. Many companies are in uncharted territories during this pandemic trying to navigate layoffs, furloughs, and remote workers. It’s imperative to remember that we’re all experiencing this together and we can only take it each day at a time.