Even without the threat of COVID-19, remote working is a work benefit many companies have been offering their employees as of late. Remote or virtual working takes a lot of the commuting-related stress off your employees especially when most of their daily tasks can be done from the convenience of their homes. It allows a degree of flexibility for your employees and promotes a better work-life balance.
Remote working doesn’t seem much like an option anymore. In fact, in many industries, it has turned into a requirement. This has resulted in a lot of discontentment in organizations.
Employees may feel isolated, anxious, and even lose their passion as they can’t physically be with the colleagues that set the pace at work. What used to be a benefit that promotes well-being and happiness has turned into a sticking point as employees no longer feel engaged.
When employees don’t feel engaged, some may lose sight of the value they bring to the table. This will surely affect the productivity of your organization and risk the quality of service you provide to your customers.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 6 methods you can work on to keep your employees engaged during these tough times.
Conduct Team-Building Activities
It’s completely possible to hold team building sessions online. Though it’s not going to be as physically demanding as running an obstacle course, virtual team-building activities still promote employee engagement and communication between one another.
Here are 25 activities that you can use for team building.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t limit yourselves just because you’re far away from each other. There are plenty of proven benefits to team-building activities, in which SnackNation covers its 13 main points.
Invest Heavily in Frequent Training
As an employee, not feeling the rush of commuting to work, smashing away the keyboard in the office and hearing the buzz around the cubicles can make life feel quite stagnant. They may feel like their careers have slowed down a little and could use a little motivation.
That’s when you should ramp up your training sessions up a notch.
Use this opportunity to hold virtual training webinars. You can invite renowned personas in your industry to speak “in front” of your team. The benefit of holding virtual webinars is that your employees can record it for future viewing.
Here, they can interact with the guest speaker or trainer just as if they’re on stage. Encourage your employees to provide their own input and experiences as this will further boost their engagement.
If you can’t afford to invite a trainer, organize mentoring programs for junior employees. They’ll be assigned a more experienced mentor that can share their experiences and show them the direction they need to take to climb the career ladder.
Acknowledge Their Hard Work
Long-term remote working can be disastrous for employees, especially when they are stuck at home. Some may have small children running around demanding their attention.
Besides their children, some may be living with parents or older relatives that require extra care as some old folks’ homes may be closed.
The juggle between work and personal responsibilities can wear your employees down quickly. Therefore, it’s important that you try to put yourself in their shoes and understand what goes on in their lives. Let them know that they are a valued part of the team and you’ll be understanding towards the shortcomings they have.
Take this opportunity to praise your employees where it’s due. Or let employees celebrate each other with peer recognition software. This type of approach helps increase collaboration, and gives managers a peek into great work they might have missed.
Keep it in mind to be specific with your praises. When you’re writing your thank you note, mention how their roles contributed to the success of your project. This can really raise their spirits and improve their self-esteem. However, praising them too frequently can diminish its value.
Encourage Health and Wellness
Your employees’ health is their ultimate asset. If they aren’t well physically, mentally, and emotionally, their work performance will take a hit without a doubt. With this, comes the opportunity to incentivize healthy habits for your employees.
There are many ways around this. Perhaps you could host a virtual Zumba session every Friday evening, or invite a yoga instructor to lead your employees to a path of mindfulness. If you want to take it up a notch, make a game out of this. See who attends the most yoga sessions or reaches their fitness goals faster.
If you have the budget for it, enroll your employees in a healthy snack box subscription. This shows that you care about the food they put in their bodies and acts as a more subtle way for them to stay motivated during work.
When people eat healthy food, their productivity and mood improve, thus boosting engagement.
Open Channels for Water Cooler Talk
This may not be music to some manager’s ears, but water cooler talk at the office is a helpful way of making sure employees stay engaged. Talking about non-work related stuff allows your employees to let off some steam and opens up the doors for new input that they can apply in their professional lives.
Unfortunately, that privilege is taken away the moment they pack their bags to work from home. However, your team might already be working on a platform that enables team communication such as Slack.
With Slack, you can create a channel dedicated for random, water-cooler talk.
This prevents your employees from spamming work channels with unrelated topics as well as providing an outlet for them to joke around and talk about the weather. Pet pictures are a great topic starter as well!
Encourage Knowledge Sharing and Peer-to-Peer Feedback
Just because we’re confined to our homes doesn’t mean we can’t share the things we learn with our colleagues. Encourage your employees to help each other by giving tips to overcome problems, even when no one is asking. This could be as simple as an Excel hack to finding the right words to convert a sales lead.
Employees want to feel like they’re a part of a team. This gives them purpose and boosts engagement. Therefore, you should also encourage employees to provide peer-to-peer feedback, just like how they would in a traditional meeting.