With more workplaces having made the switch to home and remote working this year due to the COVID pandemic, trying to form some form of virtual workplace culture is proving difficult for a large majority of companies. Although working remotely has a huge number of benefits, such as increased productivity, no lengthy commutes and a better work-life balance, it also comes with some downsides. Recent studies have shown that remote employees are struggling to connect and engage with their coworkers and feel less connected to their company, which can then impact on their productivity.
Keeping remote employees engaged and motivated is a huge and necessary part of managing a remote team. Without the ability to have natural conversations, it requires a more concentrated effort from all employees to make the effort to engage with one another. A lack of employee engagement can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness or even feelings of underappreciation with the company itself.
If you are in charge of leading a remote team, here are some top tips for keeping them engaged and motivated.
Encourage Health And Wellness
The health and wellbeing of your employees should be one of your top priorities as a manager. Put it this way, if your employees are unwell or get sick, then they will be unable to perform at their highest ability, or even at all for a period of time. If you are all working from home, you could try to come up with incentives to get them focusing on their health and wellbeing. Maybe you could start a wellness programme, share healthy recipes or do a Zoom cook-along? During these winter months, you could look at shifting your start and finish times, so that employees can get out for a walk or exercise in the morning when it is light.
Host Virtual Meetings
Typically, many employees leave meetings thinking “that could have been an email”, but these days, a lot of people are craving those face to face meetings again. A lot of remote teams keep in contact with the help of instant messaging services, texts or emails, often because it is quicker and easier to keep a track of if it includes important information. But, if your whole team is working remotely, a virtual meeting can go a long way in making the team collaborate and engage with each other again.
It’s also important to plan virtual get-togethers and non-work related chats, too. At work, there is always something important or stressful to discuss, but you don’t want every conversation you have during work time to be filled with stress or tense. Make time to schedule regular casual meetings or video calls with your employees to ensure that they feel engaged and motivated.
Make Sure Employees Feel Valued
Your employees deserve to feel appreciated and valued, especially more so from a distance. As you’re no longer in the office to give them a face to face thank-you or take them out to lunch to celebrate a work anniversary, look for ways you can celebrate your employees virtually, too. If it is someone’s birthday, send them an e-gift card, or schedule a one-on-one meeting if they have done something that needs to be recognised. Ideally, as a manager, you should look for small, but thoughtful, ways you can celebrate your employees as often as possible to show that you care.
Miscommunications are common between remote teams, especially if they are reliant on instant chat or email, as messages and conversations can come across in the wrong way or tone. The last thing you want is for your employees to feel as though they can’t talk to you or ask questions. Make it clear to your employees that you are available for one-on-one meetings or calls, and that you are here to listen.
Consider A Shared Workspace
If some of your employees are wanting to get back into the office, but you are reluctant to spend on permanent office space, or just don’t feel comfortable getting everyone back in the office just yet, it may be worth looking into shared workspaces or hot desking. There are many shared workspace areas, especially in larger city centres, where you can rent out small office spaces or desks on a regular basis, depending on how many employees are looking to get back to a regular work environment, or if you want to slowly start introducing office-based work again.
If you or your employees have meetings pending, or just simply want to discuss things face to face with each other, then this can be an easy solution. Looking for commercial property for sale can be a lengthy and expensive process, so shared workspaces offer a great and quick solution.