The pandemic forced a lot of offices and businesses to pivot to a remote work setup. For some workers, it was a welcome reprieve, but for others, it was quite the challenge to get used to. The former group probably enjoyed the fact that they no longer have to commute to work, while the latter group was probably worried about equipment failure, finding a space to work, or a spotty Internet connection.
Regardless of where you and your employees stood on this scale at the beginning of this global health crisis, chances are, you feel disenfranchised with how long your work-from-home setup has been and how much longer we have to deal with COVID-19. Now’s the time to really dial up your employee engagement programs to boost morale and to keep it high.
Change Your Mindset
You’ll be surprised by how something as simple as changing your views about remote work can already be a big boost for your employees. By changing your mindset, we mean you have to let go of traditional ways of running things. Experts call it the body-in-seat mentality, and it’s often a managerial problem wherein they believe that an employee “chained” to their workstation is a productive employee.
However, that’s not always the case, and this is especially challenging to monitor when your staff works remotely. Instead of strictly dictating the hours in which they have to work, give them the freedom to produce their work at times that is productive for them. Put emphasis on what they produce rather than when they produce it.
Assure Them that Their Well-being Comes First
After a few months in isolation, it’s not unusual for you to get antsy and want to get back into the office. Collaboration with your staff and colleagues will be easier, but don’t assume that they feel the same way. Instead of forcing them to return to the office, do a quick survey about how ready they are to get back to work.
Be transparent about how you plan to keep the workplace safe from virus-causing germs. If necessary, hire the services of a commercial sanitation firm. Finally, don’t penalize employees who, despite your best efforts, still feel unsafe venturing out and would rather continue working from home.
Organize Virtual Team-building Activities
Just because you are no longer seeing each other in real life doesn’t mean you can’t hold team building activities virtually. There are various ways to do this. For example, you could hold monthly birthday parties. Gather all the birthday celebrants for that month and organize a virtual after-hours party for all of them.
If your budget allows it, send each one a birthday cupcake with a candle they can blow on-cam. This is also a great way to get people from other departments together and let them get to know each other. These gatherings don’t have to be dul, either. Have the “party” for an hour or 30 minutes maximum, and you will cheer up your employees.
Remote work is not as easy as many people believe. It takes plenty of personal discipline to make it a success. As a business owner, it is up to you to help your employees make the transition from working in the office to working remotely as smooth as possible.