Remote Working: How To Keep Your Employees Engaged, Motivated and Happy
In today’s post, I’m going to be sharing with you some advice detailing how to promote engagement, motivation and mental well-being in employees who are working remotely – which, given the current climate, is probably the vast majority of people!
The swift nature of the recent necessity to change from an office-based working environment to remote working has left many companies underprepared – a boat you may find yourself in; however, there are an array of steps you can follow to ensure the mental well-being of your employees – which will, in turn, improve their performance and morale – during these testing times.
This is a complex topic. Balancing the need for both collectivism and individualism can be challenging; however, by employing the following advice, you can provide your employees with the best remote working environment possible. I’ve broken the information down into smaller, more manageable chunks as this should help you to piece together a step-by-step approach for your business.
Remote Working: Creating a Productive, Motivated and Happy Workforce
For a smooth and natural transition from office-based to remote working, an acclimatisation period is necessary. During this time, policies can be discussed and advised, and training can be given, all of which will thoroughly prepare employees for the switch as it happens.
Although it is entirely natural to worry that employees may not work as efficiently or productively, it is crucial to persist with positive lines of communication. For example, letting your employees know that you understand the difficulties they may be up against, such as balancing childcare and implementation of a structured routine, will help them to feel both appreciated and supported, which, in turn, will increase the likelihood they’ll reach out to you should they need to.
With so many workers now in social isolation, daily human connections are essential – they really can make a huge difference to a person’s day. Ensuring that teams are supporting each other, maintaining their daily connections and sharing information they need on a regular basis is crucial, and something that should be actively promoted. Unlike the office environment, it’s impossible to tell if an employee or co-worker is stressed when working remotely; therefore, frequent and open communication is one way to address any potential issues that may arise with regard to teamwork that so naturally happens when in the office. Emphasis should be placed on this, as research has indicated that it is easier for employees to ‘pass the buck’ and blame each when working remotely.
A manager’s role in this is key. If they are able to identify any potential issues as early as possible, it can reduce the possibility of employee infighting – something that will undoubtedly cause a decrease in morale, trust and ultimately induce a sense of less connection within the team itself, which may have an adverse effect on productivity, engagement and well being.
Preventing Potential Issues That May Arise From Remote Working
Here are a few pieces of advice to help you identify and prevent potential problems that may be exacerbated by a remote working environment.
– Make time and space to listen to any anxieties, concerns or issues your employees may have. Be sympathetic, encouraging and supportive of their situation, as this will help to alleviate levels of stress they may be experiencing. Ask them how the change to remote working has been for them, listen to what they have today and discuss it with them to ensure you’ve fully understood what they’ve shared with you. Reassure them that everything is in hand and under control – and that you have full confidence in them.
– Offer a wide range of options for team contact – from email through to video calls and conferencing. Each team member will have different preferences on communication methods; therefore, it is essential to have as many open to them as possible. Helping employees use the form(s) of communication they prefer will make them feel like you genuinely care about their proclivity, which in turn will help to boost their morale and well-being.
– Managers and team leaders should lay down boundaries and expectations regarding communication and when to use them. If employees know that specific forms of communication have different levels of urgency and importance, they can transpose this over to the task in hand of their own volition without having to use up valuable time contacting you to find out further information on deadlines etc. Furthermore, setting up specific times for contact is advised to save employees from continual interruption during tasks that require high levels of attention.
– Foster non-work based bonding that office teams typically have, as many employees may this aspect of office (work) life, particularly when the adaption period has been so swift. Provide employees with sufficient breathing space and freedom to discuss non-work related topics during conference calls or via office WhatsApp group and communication methods of that ilk. Perhaps even consider virtual events to continue building the rapport and camaraderie that exists within employees and teams.
In summary, there are a wide range of hurdles that businesses will face in these trying and testing time, but employing the above advice should enable as smooth a transition to remote working – and, most importantly, a transition that understands the importance of – and promotes – employee mental well-being.