By Nikhil Soni
As we know the effect of coronavirus on the world economy has by far been the most detrimental and most interesting event in everyone's career, we're laying down a few facts here. With countries grappling with the situation in terms of the medical safety of their citizens and keeping their economy afloat at the same time, the staff that is remotely working from home is the one that needs the greatest attention and hence we bring you the ultimate list of things to do for engaging a remote workforce with ease.
Before diving into our remote employee engagement journey, it is important to understand and take note of the problems that your staff is facing at home. To get the best out of this comprehensive list, make sure that you let your employees voice their concerns and try to solve them with your entire team. Let's check out the 8 ways to keep your remote employees engaged.
1. Communication First.
The key to success at WFH lies in prioritizing communication. Your team and manager need to know that you are available and taking WFH seriously. Thus, prefer to call your colleagues on video or chat with them for routine queries instead of sending an email. Ask for regular performance evaluations from your manager and get adequate face time with him. If you are alone at home, you run the risk of social isolation. Participate in remote non-work-related video hangouts with your team. As a manager share more information than usual with your team, provide them with the technology they need, organize social interactions, and discuss how they are coping with the situation.
2. Set clear Expectations
The next step in engaging your remote workforce is setting clear and achievable goals. A flexible schedule is an advantage for remote employees, but if you need your workforce responsive and engaged during certain hours, communicate that expectation clearly. Encourage employees to allocate and calendar time when they’ll be online and available.
Periodically check in to ensure schedules align with any persistent challenges like time zone differences or client needs. If your team has critical commitments such as team or department meetings, hold employees accountable for attending and follow up on absences
3. Get Personal
While you don’t want to seem invasive or breach respectful boundaries, it takes a little more effort to help your remote workforce feel seen as individuals. After all, they aren’t running into each other in the bathroom or on the way to grab a cup of coffee and chatting about the unbelievable plot twist in that latest HBO episode.
As a manager, you’ll need to be intentional about creating those opportunities for interaction online.
Consider celebrating milestones or making announcements about the achievements and recognition part of your daily managerial approach. Even using GIFs or the occasional emoji in informal chats can create comradery within your team and personalize communication.
4. Trust your Team
At some point, once you’ve defined responsibilities, expectations, and deadlines, you must trust your team to follow through. Certainly, as a manager of a remote workforce, you need to go the extra mile to provide the right tools and support at a distance. But a great deal of the formula for success with a talented workforce lies simply in good employee motivation skills.
5. Stay Connected and Communicate
Collaboration is a crucial ingredient of a successful team, but you can’t communicate effectively with employees who aren’t connected. Make sure your team has the right tools for the job, including internet access and potentially a company cell phone for employees whose responsiveness is valuable to your organization.
Establish regular check-in calls to help your remote workforce feel included, but also encourage the use of platforms for instant messaging and chat that allow informal conversations between colleagues to flourish.
Pick up the phone when you can, especially for situations which might be emotionally charged or stressful. Your tone of voice is a much better communicator of emotion than email. It’s also time to practice and get comfortable with your onscreen presence because video calls and virtual meetings are a telecommuting necessity.
6. Foster a Growth Mindset
Even if you have an incredibly talented team with a dazzling skillset, they still need to stay challenged, especially important while engaging a remote workforce. One way managers can motivate a remote workforce is by focusing on both personal improvement and performance goals.
This approach relies on a growth mindset, and it encompasses the idea that no matter where you are in your career, from the front lines of service to executive leadership, you always have room to stretch for more. As a manager, when you focus your team on their potential and not just their performance, it opens both yourself and your remote workforce up to new opportunities.
7. Provide whatever Support you can
Many economies are receiving benefits from the government. Even as some are topping them up with their reserve fund, there are other smaller businesses which are forwarding the benefits directly to their staff. Whatever be your situation, communicate that well with your employees. Keep them informed if salaries are going to be delayed, just so they are well prepared to manage their expenditure.
In a situation where the organization is generally doing great and can afford to contribute towards the welfare of others in the society, ensure that the remote employee engagement process is moving smoothly It will be a great way to make them feel involved.
8. Treat your Employees with Empathy
Even as telecommuting is much encouraged in a few organizations, there have been a few weird cases that I’ve heard of since the Covid-19 outbreak. Some companies bowed down to micromanaging, asking their staff to keep their laptop/desktop cameras on to record their presence for eight hours of the day. Strangely enough, these eight hours did not include their restroom or lunch breaks.
Remember that when your staff works from home they are already bereft of any social engagement, including coffee breaks and walks. Their productivity automatically may take a hit or increase exponentially, depending on how you are engaging your remote workforce. But for those who are new to this remote working concept, be empathetic for a few days until they get used to this new normal. Engage in a moderately hands-off manner to make them feel valued.