To protect employees from the outbreak of COVID-19, many companies have asked their staff to work from home. Although remote work is already somewhat common in many industries, many companies were not ready for the unexpected transition into an entirely remote workforce.
Keeping work teams engaged and motivated
It is not enough to have the proper tech tools to keep the remote team working, but leadership also needs a strategy for maintaining efficient and motivated teams. Almost all families are now quarantined together in their houses, so employees have to deal with more distractions than usual. Also, they may be anxious about their safety and wellbeing, so employers need to pay attention to how their fears may affect productivity in the following weeks and months. To ensure smooth operations as the company navigates the “new normal,” below are expert insights on how to maintain engagement and motivation as the team works from home:
Communication is important
A fully remote team needs regular, clear communication to succeed. It is particularly crucial as the COVID-19 situation unfolds. Business owners need to devise different methods to communicate with their employees, including emails and chat software. Carefully prepared presentations can keep them going and provide necessary updates that affect the business at large. Chat channels are an efficient way to handle communication that once took place ad hoc, while video software can take the place of formal meetings.
Videos work too
Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts are easy-to-use video conferencing tools that ensure a regular meeting schedule. The key is to encourage every team member to switch on their cameras for face-to-face and necessary social interaction. Weekly meetings over video conferencing can keep everyone connected and prepared for work.
Exemplary leadership with proper remote work setup
If the team is not familiar with working from home, they may need time to adjust to their new home workspace. As the leader, having a proper remote work setup can serve as the model for the team, especially during video conferences. The work setup should be free of clutters and face a window for natural light. Noise-canceling headphones can help maintain focus on the necessary tasks.
Leaders might be tempted to monitor their employees constantly to ensure that they are staying on task as they work from home. However, micromanaging the team does not inspire trust, and a culture that revolves around trust is essential when keeping remote workers engaged and motivated. Since most of the work is now done remotely, leaders can achieve trust by avoiding micromanagement and staying transparent. Workers should be able to work autonomously.
Time often passes by quickly at home, and employees, removed from the social cues in the office, might be working without breaks. Managers can plan virtual breaks with team members between meetings to praise their accomplishments and foster healthy casual talk. Studies show, workers often perform better when they have a leader who cares about their wellbeing and creates time for fun and teambuilding.
These are challenging times, and employees are still trying to adjust to the COVID-19 crisis and their work. You can do your best as the business owner or manager to keep them motivated and engaged during the new normal.
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