No doubt, drastic and unprecedented changes have been brought by the Coronavirus pandemic to several industries. With shelter-in-place orders issued to nonessential employees and social distancing extremely encouraged, several companies are trying to adapt to the work from home scheme in order to continue operation.
It is not surprising that in this age of advanced digital technology many employees are adept at remote work arrangement. However, there are still several others who are not. For some, this might even be the first time they experienced telecommuting to work. Though working from home might seem exciting at first, employees will eventually become disengaged when the initial excitement wears off.
In addition to the stress caused by the adjustment to the new work routine, many employees find themselves increasingly feeling more lonely, anxious, and depressed as they try to balance their new realities. These mental health issues experienced by employees take a toll not only on their personal relationships but on their work performance as well.
Considering all of this information, it is vital that during this time companies put a premium on their employees by giving them more encouragement and motivation. So how can businesses do this? Check out below five suggestions on how to keep your employees engaged while working from home during this pandemic.
Encourage Open Communication
Most employees who are not adept to a work from home setup feel more isolated and out of the loop. To remedy this situation, your company may utilize business communication platforms such as Slack, Hubspot, or Skype for Business to make a daily check-in of your employees. Talk with them how they are adjusting to the new work setup and inform them of any important company news.
Since communication is a two-way street, be open enough to listen to any of your staff's concerns, be it about work or their personal lives. The pandemic is putting everyone in an overwhelming and stressful situation. Talking to your employees of their feelings and concerns would help mitigate the burden they are carrying.
Since a work from home setup is clearly different from the office work arrangement, be sure to communicate clearly to your employees your expected output from them. Inform your employees if you expect them to be online during specific hours or if you want daily updates on a task. With day care centers and schools closed, be flexible to those employees who cannot abide by your ideal telecommuting setup.
Encourage Work-Life Balance
Most employees find it difficult to separate their personal life and office life when working from home. The lines will eventually get blurry as employees try to juggle household chores and office tasks. Furthermore, most remote staff feels they need to be available for work 24/7. This kind of mentality among employees leads to stress and eventually burnout.
To help promote mental wellness, it is crucial to emphasize on your employees that they need to create boundaries between work and personal life. Encourage them to work during their normal working hours ━ which is typically 9 to 5 ━ and to find a workspace at home to lessen distractions.
Nurture Teamwork and Collaboration
Employees thrive in an organization that makes them feel they are part of a team. But with a remote work setup, it can be hard for them to buy that mentality.
Nonetheless, as an employer, you can devise ways to promote teamwork and unity, such as by listening to their suggestions during meetings, implementing their creative ideas and solutions, and acknowledging their contributions. It is important to make your employees feel that you all are working towards a common goal even though with a remote work arrangement.
Establish a Reward System
Perhaps the most effective way to boost the morale of your telecommuting staff is by recognizing and rewarding them for their productivity. Recognition and reward can take into several forms, with the main objective of incentivizing your employees’ continued dedication and hard work.
Recognition does not have to be grand to be effective. You can simply post on your business communication or send a company-wide email acknowledging the contribution of a team member. You can also opt to give out rewards such as gift certificates to their favorite local restaurant, mink blankets to snuggle in during this fall, or a one-month subscription of a streaming service of their choice.
Above all, as an employer, you need to project a calm and motivating image for your staff, despite how you might truly feel during this time. Your employees need someone to look up to. Even as you acknowledge necessary changes to your business, clearly communicate your plan of moving forward.