A lot of companies just weren’t prepared to operate entirely remotely. For a lot of organizations, it wasn’t really the workflow and production that had them worried, but keeping their remote employees engaged. Without face-to-face meetings, simply saying “hi” while you pass someone’s desk, or grabbing coffee together, a lot of companies feared that they’d lose that personal connection with their staff, resulting in a lack of dedication and motivation.
So how do you keep your remote employees engaged to avoid a decrease in productivity in a time where people feel uncertain and worried about their health and job?
At 1338Tryon, we work with a lot of companies that value their employees, often using our customizable products to create awards for recognition programs. We know you care about your employees and want to make sure they’re performing their best. Let’s find out how you can ensure they’re engaged, motivated, and happy.
Engage Remote Employees: Communication
Without the ability to stop by someone’s office to chat, staying connected during the coronavirus pandemic has become more important than ever. The key is not making it feel forced and instead of making communication genuine and helpful.
Use Chat Programs
Programs like Slack and Google Hangouts ensure that everyone from the office can stay in touch with one another. These programs allow you to create various groups and locked chat rooms, helping to organize projects and various teams within the company. Having the ability to still talk throughout the day about work will keep employees connected to their co-workers and ensure they are reminded of important tasks.
But these programs also allow for direct messages, meaning you can send over a quick DM just to check in. Ask them how they are feeling and what they need help with while working remotely. Knowing that you’re thinking of them will keep them feeling appreciated, instead of feeling disconnected to the team.
Schedule More Calls and Video Meetings
One way to keep employees feeling connected while still creating a sense of normalcy and structure is to schedule daily or weekly calls and video meetings. Seeing people face-to-face will help them bond all over again, reminding them that there are in fact other real live people working on the project or team with them! Use conference programs like Zoom to ensure every employee can be present.
It will also help people stay on track when they know a meeting is coming on Friday and they’re expected to discuss the work they’ve done for their part of the project.
Just remember not to bombard employees with meetings. Too many meetings can become stressful and time-consuming, chewing away at their work hours and making them feel overworked. Keep meetings brief and to the point, but always leave room for questions.
Related: 6 Ways to Get More Done Every Day
Engage Remote Employees: Increased Participation
Sometimes remote employees can start to feel left out of work-related discussions, projects, and activities. This can lead to them pulling away since they feel underappreciated and isolated. While it does take some creativity and effort, there are definitely ways to create more chances for participation while everyone is working from home.
Give Them More Responsibilities
While you want to keep in mind how stressed and worried some employees are feeling during this time, others may be feeling a lack of motivation due to the frustrations of being away from the office. Giving them some insight into another department or project can make them feel valued, give them more purpose, and guarantee more communication.
Set Up Extracurricular Activities
Maybe your office used to throw parties every other Friday night. Or maybe some employees played video games together during their lunch break or between projects. When you work remotely, it can feel like you’re missing out on those bonding moments.
To keep employees engaged and ensure the office feels like a community, create activities for people to participate in. Set up a channel in Slack for a book club, allowing employees to discuss a novel they’re all reading. Host an online board game or Dungeons & Dragons night. Tell everyone to get on Zoom Friday night to drink and chat. Have everyone answer a poll, suggesting a movie they’d like to watch, and then have everyone watch it together with Netflix Party.
Engage Remote Employees: Make Them Feel Appreciated
Without daily discussions on projects or face-to-face meetings in the office, remote work can start to feel isolating. Employees can feel like their work isn’t being recognized and only exists to reach a deadline. It’s more important than ever before to give them recognition and appreciation along the way, instead of just telling employees to submit work to the drive by the end of the week.
Create a Budget for At Home Offices
For many employees, working from home is definitely new territory. A lot of people don’t even have the proper office or equipment to feel comfortable or focused while working from home. Offer a small budget for employees to use for home office supplies, which will not only make them feel appreciated but help them stay focused and motivated to work.
Offer Rewards for Work
Of course, hearing “great work” is often enough for most employees, remote or otherwise. But why not make them feel even more appreciated if the budget allows? Depending on the type of work, rewards can be given out for employees who complete the most or get the best results. The reward could also be for contests unrelated to work if your company decides to have a karaoke contest or video game tournament.
Use 1338Tryon’s customizable apparel, office supplies, and other merchandise to create prizes customized to your company and the contest or task at hand. Think a shirt with your company’s name on it, your employee’s name on it, and a fun slogan or title to represent their accomplishment, like “May 2020 Sales Wizard” or “Best Animal Crossing Island on the Team.”
Related: 8 Corporate Gifts For Your Employees
When it comes to engaging remote employees, a little can go a long, long way to make them feel motivated and a part of the team. It’s hard for a lot of people to transition to remote work so unexpectedly and under such uncertain circumstances, but it makes a world of difference if they feel appreciated by their employer. A simple check-in on Slack can let them know you care how they’re feeling while setting up company-wide activities can keep staff feeling connected.
Don’t forget to take advantage of 1338Tryon’s customizable merch, like pens for their at-home offices and t-shirts to all wear during Friday Night Wine Drinking Zoom Party. It’s hard not to feel appreciated and motivated when it feels like your employer truly cares about you and your work.