Working from home is now the reality for a majority of employees across the United States. It’s a quick transition for many and is not without its share of pitfalls. But we have some tips on how to keep employees connected, engaged, and productive.
The coronavirus continues to spread and companies across the United States are feeling the economic impact as well as the pressure to adapt to ever-changing circumstances. Many who are accustomed to working in an office are now working out of their homes. If you're an employer or manager and worry about remote work impacting your team’s cohesion and productivity, there are ways to stay connected. With a bit of creativity, you can help maintain a level of social norms while employees work from home.
Adapt existing team rituals
I’m sure you have daily rituals in the office with your team. Now that most folks who can work are working virtually, it’s a good idea to adapt these existing practices to keep your team connected. Consider the following:
Morning and afternoon video calls
At Dominion we’re checking in via Zoom at 8:45am and 4:30pm each day. These video conference calls allow people to catch up with each other, share what they want to accomplish that day, and share how their day went. It’s a good practice for us to stay connected as well as establish a similar dynamic to being in the office together.
If your employees normally get lunch together or meet in the company cafeteria, consider suggesting a virtual lunch meeting once during the week. Some folks may wish to take the time to log off for a half hour, but others may miss connecting over lunch. Consider sending out a message via your favorite digital chat forum and seeing if people are interested.
Shared activities can be as simple as sharing an article and having everyone share their thoughts, or attending the same webinar training. Shared activities don’t have to be anything major but they’ll help your team stay connected.
Working remotely requires employees to be overly transparent in what they’re working on. It requires a lot of trust from employers, so be sure to let employees know they should communicate early and often on what they’re working on. It also means employers need to make sure remote employees receive important updates. Be sure to post announcements over email, digital chat platforms, and whatever else your company uses to communicate.
Morning and evening progress updates
As I mentioned above, it’s helpful to keep tabs on what everyone is up to, and a daily video conference is a great option. Video conferences keep people connected as well as providing a personal touch audio calls lack.
Check in frequently
Check in with your different employees as frequently as you deem fit. It may seem like overkill, but any updates or changes to your business will be greatly appreciated by your staff. Contact is important and make a point to practice it daily to keep your employees in the loop.
As I mentioned in our previous blog, set a clear timeline of when employees should be accessible. A good rule of thumb is to stick to the same schedule you would normally expect if people were working in the office. The regular work day timeline should still apply; just because employees have their work computer and software at home does not mean they should be accessible around the clock.
Share accomplishments and goals
Employers and employees both should share any accomplishments or wins from the day or week. Take the time to pass on positive information to keep spirits high. Working from home provides an opportunity to get caught up on trainings or certificates valuable to your position. If there’s any training or learning opportunities you’ve been neglecting, now is a great time to get caught up.