While there had already been a long-term trend of more employees working remotely, COVID-19 accelerated long-term remote work into a norm for many office-based employers. Many managers find their team productivity increases when working remotely, but they may also have to contend with the new challenge of keeping those remote workers engaged.
Following these strategies may keep your team engaged when you don’t have regular in-person contact.
Maintain open communication
The lynchpin to a strong, positive company culture is trust. To build trust with your employees wherever they’re working, it’s imperative to maintain open communication. When you’re making plans for your business, keep employees in the loop.
Outside of legally sensitive information, workers should never feel blindsided by internal news or excluded from important discussions. Holding town halls and making executives accessible with an open inbox or virtual office hours may further deepen trust and internal relationships.
Keep your team in sync with a chat app
When employees work in close proximity, it’s easy to walk over for a quick question or connect at the coffee pot for a short hello. If those same teammates are miles or even time zones apart, it’s important to replace the watercooler with something else.
You may choose between a popular market-leading business chat app or something more customized for your industry or work style. Once everyone is logged in, it’s easy to stay connected throughout the workday.
Empower employees to fix problems
As businesses grow, there is a natural tendency to add more bureaucracy, more rules, and more controls. That may be necessary for certain business areas that deal with money or data security, but it’s wise to take care not to create too many rules or hurdles for employees to manage.
The people who do the work every day are often best suited to finding new and creative solutions to workplace challenges. Giving your employees the freedom to improve processes and fix problems on their own may make working for any company more enjoyable.
Turn employee feedback into action
When employees can’t fix something on their own, don’t make it a situation where they just grumble about the issue and stay frustrated. Listen to and solicit employee feedback so you may identify and remove frustrations at work.
Every employee complaint may not be realistically solved, but there are likely plenty of easy opportunities to make your workers’ days better with a concerted effort. Happy workers are often engaged workers and may be more likely to embrace your company culture.
Make face-to-face communication easy
Remote workers probably won’t be in the same room, particularly during a major pandemic, but that doesn’t mean they can’t emulate face-to-face contact. While video calls were only something from futuristic science fiction movies only a short time ago, there are now countless ways to have a video call using a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Providing a workplace video conference tool that fits with your company culture and workflow is often essential in keeping employees connected and engaged while remote.
Utilize regular manager feedback
Without regular in-person interaction, employees may feel disconnected from their supervisors. That may lead to a lack of confidence that they are doing their job well, even if performance is better than ever before.
Encourage managers to touch base with a weekly one-on-one call for employees to ask questions and for two-way feedback. Just telling someone “good job” on occasion is often a huge boost to morale and culture.
Encourage a mentally and physically healthy lifestyle
It isn’t enough to care that employees are getting their work done. When you want a strong culture, your business should care about employees as individuals both in and out of work. That means respecting work-life balance boundaries and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.
Offering perks like gym membership subsidies, ergonomic workstation upgrades, mental health resources, and an employee assistance program may further enhance employee loyalty while boosting your work culture appeal.
Offer the most desired perks
A quick online search may tell you about the most commonly offered perks, but that doesn’t mean they are the most valued perks. Getting to know your employees and their lifestyle goals may help you custom-tailor perks that are ideal for your business.
Perhaps you let employees log off early on family birthdays or when there’s a big game on TV. Maybe you give employees flexible schedules or added personal time on top of regular vacation days. Encouraging community service, bringing teams together (virtually) for fun activities, and other creative benefits are great for building company culture.
Send out a fun surprise
Few people are excited to see bills in the mailbox, but most people are excited to get a surprise gift. Consider sending something out to employees to enjoy at home. Company mugs, shirts, or blankets could get good use during a cozy work-from-home day. Anything creative, fun, and widely enjoyed could work well.
To turn a gift into a culture-building event, consider sending out gifts to align with a company happy hour or event. Sending a six-pack or a bottle of wine could show employee appreciation and supply a virtual happy hour, as could gift cards to local restaurants or delivery services. It’s a relatively small expense that may go a long way in building loyalty and culture.
Embracing the remote work revolution
With remote work, employers and employees may enjoy new opportunities for flexibility and productivity by taking advantage of a new work environment. Some bosses may be resistant to not having dominion over their workers’ days, but that attitude could be counterproductive in maintaining a strong company culture while working remotely.
When you truly embrace the remote work revolution, you may take advantage of its many benefits while maintaining a strong company identity. That’s a win-win for your employees and your business.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion on any issue. It should not be regarded as comprehensive or a substitute for professional advice.