While many workers in the US are looking forward to returning to work, others will be continuing to work offsite, either temporarily or permanently. In fact, according to a 2021 report from NCCI, most workers and employers expect to permanently implement more flexible remote working opportunities after the pandemic. This presents a number of challenges to business leaders, including that of maintaining cohesion between employees in the office and those working remotely - and keeping those in the latter category happy, fulfilled and driven.
This article will explore some practical ways to keep your remote workers engaged and motivated, during a time when we could all use a little extra support.
Organizing virtual meetups
Employees who are working from home are pretty much missing out on the so-called water-cooler moments that give much needed time away from screens and offer great opportunities to form bonds between teammates.
Naturally, your team will be catching up regularly in a professional capacity, but it’s a good idea to arrange some social meetups too. How this looks, in reality, will depend on your team and what they’ll enjoy. No one appreciates forced fun, particularly in a virtual setting! Talk to your employees and see what they would like to do and have some suggestions prepared to get the ball rolling. Perhaps you could try a virtual cooking or craft class, a talent show or a quiz. Or you could just go for some plain old-fashioned drinks and a catch-up. Whatever you decide, make sure it is done with your employee’s interests at heart and don’t try to impose it on people, especially when it isn’t going to happen within office hours.
Use the right tools
No doubt you’ve tried a million different virtual communication tools over the last year or so. But it’s a good idea to revisit them periodically and check how fit for purpose they are. Your project management platform, any group chat apps or feedback mechanisms need to be easy to use, genuinely collaborative and people have to like using them. No one needs an extra tool in their lives that ends up becoming a chore right now. Talk to your team, find out what would make their lives easier, research the market and make the necessary investment.
Make sure they feel they are being listened to and valued
Miscommunications tend to happen more often when people aren’t physically together. And sometimes, despite our best intentions, we neglect people when they are not around. To prevent this from happening, think about all the touchpoints your remote team has with your office and devise ways you can make sure they are as connected as possible, that they feel valued, and that their voices are heard. This could include:
Show you are thinking of them
Even if your people enjoy working from home, they might find that loneliness creeps in and they feel a bit lost without the usual face-to-face interactions and feedback processes. Show your team that you are thinking of them and you continue to appreciate their efforts by making sure their work and achievements are acknowledged on a regular basis. You could even send them care packages from time to time. Some nice cookies or a pair of cosy socks in winter can go a long way to keeping your remote workers engaged, happy and loyal.
Create the right culture
In order to make all the above efforts work - really work - they have to be held together with the right workplace culture. Even in normal times, remote workers can be on the receiving end of negative sentiment from co-workers. The misperception is that they are getting the easy ride.
Mistrust can easily rear its ugly head, so make sure you lead from the top and show that you trust all your workers implicitly, that you recognize the challenges for both office-based and remote workers and will do all you can to support the whole workforce, regardless of where they are based. You should also keep an eye on the way that your remote workforce is monitored. They should not be discriminated against or micromanaged in any way.
We hope these tips for keeping your remote workers engaged and motivated have been useful. If you need any help moving forward into the future with your recruitment, talk to the team at Bramwith. We’re procurement and supply chain experts and we can help.
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