How to Support Remote Employees in a Digital World
Many people have mixed feelings about working from home. Some say it’s the best thing ever, while others think it’s completely ineffective. But with the current global pandemic, remote work is not an option anymore.
The number of cases is rising by the minute and the U.S. government urged the public to stay home and limit contact. Businesses all over the country implemented work from home policies to help stunt the rate of infection.
Without a doubt, COVID-19 has turned the business landscape upside down. While some workers are already familiar with working from home, a majority of employees and managers are still trying to adapt to these changes.
6 Ways to Support Your Employees Who Are Working From Home
The work-from-home set up is different for everyone. But for most people, it means more distractions, lesser social interactions, and lower work-life balance. These factors can lead to more stress and less productivity.
As managers, it’s our responsibility to create a pleasant working environment, whether on-site or remotely. Here are some of the ways you can support and connect with your employees who are working from home:
1. Daily Check-Ins
Your employees need to feel that they belong to a community. Remote employees often feel isolated from the rest of the company. Daily video conferences or one-on-one calls creates a sense of belonging. You can schedule these calls regularly – around once or twice a week. Let your employees know you’re there to support them and answer any questions or concerns.
2. Equip Them with the Necessary Tools
To help your employees succeed while working from home, equip them with the tools they need to stay productive. These tools may include chat/messaging apps like Slack, Chatwork, or Microsoft Teams. Skype for Business, Zoom, Convert Calculator’s timecard calculator or Google Hangouts for virtual meetings. You can also give them access to project management software like Asana, Basecamp, and Airtable. Besides that, you will also require ISP providers to help you set up the necessary infrastructure for uninterrupted connectivity and communications. These tools allow managers and employees to effectively collaborate on projects no matter where they are.
3. Encourage Virtual Interactions
Even if you’re working remotely doesn’t mean that you can’t socially interact with your team. Social interactions, like informal conversations unrelated to work, strengthen interpersonal relationships with coworkers. This is important for all remote workers, but it’s especially beneficial for those who recently transitioned out of the office.
Before your regularly scheduled virtual meetings, spend a few minutes catching up with each other. Ask them how their weekend was, what they had for breakfast or what they plan to do after the pandemic. You can hold virtual lunches or coffee breaks together where employees can virtually meet and chat as they would in the office.
While these solutions seem cheesy, these virtual events may help reduce social isolation and promote a sense of belonging among your employees.
4. Acknowledge Their Efforts and Accomplishments
In this trying time, your employees need to feel secure and supported. One of the most effective ways to do so is to recognize their efforts and accomplishments. When your employees feel seen and recognized, motivation and productivity increases.
Share personal and team accomplishments with the entire company. You can add a virtual group or channel for accomplishments on your productivity or communications software. Keep in mind that employee motivation directly impacts workplace productivity. So if you think they’re doing a great job, let them know.
5. Prioritize Mental and Physical Wellness
It can be challenging to strike a balance between work and life while working from home. Your employee’s physical and mental health play a major role in staying productive and motivated. With the threat of COVID-19, maintaining good health has never been more important.
Staying indoors for long periods can negatively affect physical and mental health. The lack of physical activities like going to the gym, playing sports, or attending fitness classes may cause employees to become sedentary.
You can schedule virtual office workouts for one to two days a week for 30 minutes. For their mental wellbeing, you can offer online therapy sessions shouldered by the company.
6. Set Attainable Goals
The work from home set up may feel dreadful for managers like you. Managing people in an office is difficult as it is, how much more if they’re scattered all over the city. Discipline is the key to an effective remote work setup. If you set unattainable goals, your employees are likely to slack off.
To successfully manage remote teams, it helps to set attainable goals. Set clear deadlines and detailed criteria to track their outputs and measure results. Strong communication is even more important when working with remote teams. Stay on top of everything by conducting virtual meetings and ask for regular updates.
Why Your Support Matters
It’s difficult to establish a company culture in a virtual workplace environment. However, to your employees, your support matters now more than ever. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to foster a healthy and productive community of remote workers.