The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused the government to mandate social distancing and self-isolation to stop the spreads of the virus. This means people are staying at home and limiting contact with people outside their household. To help stop the spread of the virus, many employers have decided to keep their employees at home. Working away from the office can be difficult to keep your team engaged and motivated during this stressful time.
For many, this is the first time they have ever worked from home, which can provide its own challenges. From kids, household duties, and other distractions, it can be difficult for employees to remain productive and concentrated on their daily work tasks. Fortunately, working from home also provides many benefits that contribute to the success of your employees. This includes better flexibility, a personalized workspace, and not having to commute. These factors alone can help keep your employees motivated. However, there are still many other contributors that can affect the productivity of your employees.
As their manager, you must ensure your employee’s needs are being met. Managing employees who are working from home can already be challenging, but adding a pandemic to the mix makes it even more difficult. According to Gallup, 70% of employee’s engagement is driven by their managers. If you hope to keep your team engaged and working hard during these difficult times, you must be willing to go above and beyond for your organization.
As a manager, how many days can you go where one of your employees does not have a question for you? The answer is likely zero, and the same is true while working from home. Your team must be operating on a dependable communication system that is easy and fast for people to get in contact with one another. During this time, work will be completed by numerous teams and departments. This increases the need for a sound communication system as teams will be collaborating to complete projects.
Using a sound communication system not only helps promote the productivity of your employees by ensuring their questions are answered, and tasks are defined. Still, they can also keep employee morale up by allowing socialization amongst your team. For most company’s, employee morale is driven by the office environment, and having a tight-knit group boosts productivity. Using your communication system that allows employees to stay social throughout the day can help mimic the daily interactions that happen within the office. This can help boost the morale of your employees, especially during this time of social isolation. Doing things like team meetings or a virtual lunch can provide the perfect opportunity to keep morale up with your team and give employees a chance to relax a bit during these stressful times.
With the digital age we are living in, there is an endless supply of reliable communication platforms available for your team. Communication programs such as Slack, HipChat, and Basecamp are more complex team collaboration systems. They can be used more formally and are perfect for working through projects with your team. However, these programs often require a paid subscription to unlock all their features, which is not always feasible for smaller businesses. In this case, other platforms can still provide a reliable source of communication with your team, just at a more casual level.
Programs like Skype, Zoom, and Facebook Messenger can serve as the perfect communication tool for your business during remote work and can be used free of charge! Depending on your business needs, your employees must have a sound communication system to keep in contact with the rest of the team. This will help keep them motivated and productive while working from home!
Working from home during this period of social distancing can be depressing for many employees. They may feel less valued as their job requirements are likely to decline. It is also expected that some communication is going to breakdown during this time. Especially as people are working more flexible schedules and attending to everyday duties. With some business slowing down, this could be the perfect time for you to reach out and have one-on-one conversations. You can talk with employees about everything going on and the future. By taking the time to speak directly with your team, you let them know that you care about their success and wellbeing.
Taking some time over the phone or a reliable communications system can help you engage with your team directly. This provides the perfect opportunity to ensure employees’ needs are being met. You can also clear up any questions they may have, and talk about their future. By reaching out to employees individually, you will prove you’re dedicated to their success! Sometimes, just to hear you are doing a good job, and speaking of the future can be a massive boost to morale and optimism. Showing your employees that you are engaged and invested in their success can be the perfect way to keep them engaged while working remotely.
While the work might not change for your team during social distancing, the change in normal operations will. This means that new goals should be developed to ensure their success. When setting new goals, focus on meeting deadlines, and still ensuring that work is being completed to standard. You should also focus on keeping your team safe and healthy. By guaranteeing these new goals are realistic and attainable, your group will more likely be meeting goals. This is sure to help them minimize stress and boost their morale.
Having consistency during this time, and ensuring your team is meeting their goals will keep them engaged and motivated. During these dark times, it will be much easier to keep your team engaged if you are focused on accomplishments. This is an excellent time to take a step back and look at the larger picture. It is fantastic to meet goals, it will help keep your team engaged! If not, you can dig deeper into the situation and decipher what went wrong. Doing this allows you to refine your processes surrounding remote work and further reassures that you are invested in your team and their success.
As a manager, you must understand that this virus has completely disrupted your team’s routines and schedules. For many, working from home presents its own set of challenges as the number of distractions increase. People now have kids at home all day, as well as several other household duties that need to be completed. Flexibility becomes a high priority for your employees. As their manager, you must understand that sitting at a desk for 8 hours straight may not be reasonable during this time.
You must give your team clear guidelines of their expectations during this time. Including the number of working hours or a required period of availability. Your employees understand they still have an obligation to their job. They will make an effort to meet all of their expectations, but staying flexible throughout the day will help keep them engaged and hardworking during this time. For some team members, working earlier in the morning or later at night after the kids are in bed, is more realistic.
As long as each employee is still upholding their duties, then what is there to be unhappy about?
To stay organized during these hectic times, you can easily integrate a time tracking system. This allows you to keep track of your employee’s working hours. There are a variety of useful programs such as Time Doctor. They easily track the working hours of remote teams. It could be as simple as using a shared Excel sheet or sending a text when beginning and ending work. Putting a system in place will help you set the tone for your expectations. It will also tell your team that expectations still exist while being displaced. Assigned tasks and concrete deadlines will also help with their engagement and productivity. They will know precisely when work needs to be completed. By giving them ownership of their duties and time, they will be more likely to ensure work is being completed.
Keeping your team engaged during a period of remote work can seem like a difficult task. By providing a sound communications system for your team, they will stay more engaged in completing their work and meeting the goals. This is a difficult time for all of us. The future of COVID-19 is still uncertain. By allowing your team to be flexible and providing them with consistency during this period, you are sure to keep your team engaged and hardworking during these unusual times!
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