With the Coronavirus being deemed a global pandemic, organizations are forced to offer remote work options to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among their employees. Remote work reduces employee burnout, especially for younger workers. In a personalized and comfortable work environment, employees can get their tasks done efficiently without any distractions.
But despite these benefits, remote work may cause employees to feel isolated or disconnected due to the lack of face-to-face interaction. This can greatly reduce employee morale and productivity and make your remote workers feel disengaged. An engaged workforce is critical in keeping your business productive and your customers satisfied. If proper management strategies are in place, there is no reason why remote working should disengage your employees. Here are some tips to keep your employees engaged while they work from home:
- Prioritize communication
Establishing an effective communication channel is essential for successful remote work. The water cooler conversations, lunch break bonding, and tea time gossip may not seem necessary, but they go a long way in creating strong workplace relationships and building a healthy work culture. Employees miss out on these moments when they work remotely. Without frequent communication and interaction, your employees may start feeling isolated, which demotivates them from being productive. To facilitate better remote communication, introduce an internal chat system that can be accessed by all your employees. Also, create chat groups to allow ideas to flow and ease the decision-making process.
- Organize team video conferences
Scheduling video conferences can be an effective way to better engage remote workers. No matter where your employees work from, video conferences allow for face-to-face interaction and foster a sense of connection. Video conferences also ensure all employees can share their opinions, making the decision-making process more efficient. For managers, organizing meetings and hearing from their teams allows them to stay updated with what their employees are doing. Important projects that cannot be explained through mail or chat can be explained clearly to your employees through a video conference. Employees can communicate their ideas and clarify their doubts instantly.
- Set clear goals for each of your employees
Without clear goals, your employees may lose their sense of direction and fail to work towards your organization’s success. Goals guide your employees, helping them understand what specifically they are working toward. This will keep them engaged and motivated as they work on their tasks. When setting goals for remote employees, it’s especially important to make sure they are “smart”—specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. They must also be consistent with your organization’s vision and specific to the job responsibilities of each employee. If your employees are unable to achieve their goals, talk to them politely and identify the reason.
- Recognize and appreciate their hard work
Appreciation and recognition are essential for your employees, regardless of where they work from. According to research conducted by Psychometrics, 58% of employees think that recognition plays an essential role in improving employee engagement. Initiate casual conversations with your employees to understand what they are working on and what they feel they’ve accomplished recently. Send a text, chat, or email message that thanks them for their contribution towards your organization, or show your appreciation during a team video conference. Even small measures like this can greatly enhance employee engagement.
- Regularly provide and receive feedback
Constructive feedback boosts your employees’ productivity and enhances both their personal and professional development. Providing constant feedback also helps you to stay in touch with your remote team. Feedback should never be uni-directional and employees should be encouraged to speak their minds, too. For instance, when your employees work from home for the first time, getting feedback from them can help you understand what is working and what isn’t. Your employees may be hesitant to talk about certain things over the phone or chat, so prompt them with questions to ensure that all of their concerns are addressed.
- Educate your managers
Suddenly having to handle a remote workforce can be a huge task for your managers. They might not know what to expect from remote workers or how to keep them engaged. This can put a huge strain on both your employees and your organization. Managers should be coached on remote workforce management. They should be supported with the right tools to facilitate easy communication and help them track the progress of their team members. Encourage your managers to be available to your employees and listen to their concerns carefully.
The Coronavirus outbreak is forcing many companies worldwide to provide work from home options to their employees to help keep the virus from spreading. Managing employees who work from home can be challenging at first. We hope these tips help you keep your remote employees engaged and productive.
With Zoho People, our remote workforce management software, remote employees can be engaged easily. It enables employees to communicate with their colleagues and reporting managers. Our performance management module makes employee recognition and appreciation more effective, even while working remotely. Get more information about our product here.