The current pandemic took everyone by surprise last year, and it is still ongoing, which keeps millions of people working from home for the foreseeable future. Even after a year to adapt and settle in, keeping a company happy and efficient while working remotely is no easy task. It is one thing to work remote for a few weeks, but now that remote work is the likely future, companies and, more specifically, managers need ways to keep their teams motivated even while everyone is spread out. This may be the first time working remotely for some employees, and they will want guidance from leadership. Other employees may have been excited about working from home, but the luster has worn off now, and motivation is harder to maintain.
Engagement and motivation are directly tied to productivity, happiness, work satisfaction, and a healthy work-life balance. It is up to managers to set the tone and be the leader for employees that may be struggling through the current times. Below are some tips, tricks, and suggestions for managers to keep their team engaged and productive while working from home as we all wait for the end of this pandemic.
Clear Communication And Expectations
When everyone is working in different places, sometimes different continents, it can be hard to keep communication flowing and effective. Text conversations are more challenging to interpret than face to face interactions, which only makes clear communication more critical for smooth operations. Ensure everyone knows what is expected of them on a specific timeline, so there are no surprises to throw people off track. If employees are taking on new tasks or responsibilities, it is worth investing in instructional design consulting to make sure your instructions are useful and don’t make the problem worse. It is important to talk to employees as people and not bosses all the time. Bosses want the work to be done but might forget a human is doing the work. Things come up, and not everyone can do the same things, and pushing employees past what they can handle will never lead to a good result. Be willing to accept that an employee cant take on more right now or doesn’t have a grand yearly goal for their professional life. Everyone is going through a lot right now, and asking employees to do more might be too much. Most employees will not want to say no or disappoint a boss for fear of their jobs, but this is the time to talk to employees as people rather than machines that make profits.
Remote Resource Availability
When everyone is working remotely, it is essential that documents and resources are available online. Employees should be able to access the employee handbook, company guidelines, tax information, offer letters, pay stubs, human resources information, and all other essential work resources and or information. Things are hard enough as is, so make it as easy as possible for employees to find the things they need while staying safe. Try to consolidate essential resources into one website as having payroll on one site, HR over somewhere else, and some other parts of a different site makes things needlessly complicated in an already complicated system.
Friendly Encouragement And Conversation
During these challenging times, it is easy to get stuck in the negative. If employees are struggling and things are being missed, now is not the time to come down extra harsh. When we are all working remotely, it can be easy only to see and comment when things go wrong. For all the times a manager corrects an employee, there are countless times where praise would have been appropriate, but no praise ever came. Employees who only hear the negatives will not be motivated to work harder and may end up resenting management.
An excellent way to check in with company culture is to send out an anonymous survey, so no one feels the need to hold back or be scared. The key to this feedback is not punishing employees for being honest. The feedback might not be what some people want to hear, but employees should be praised for speaking up about an issue instead of scolded for rocking the boat. Keeping the status quo might be less change and chaos for now, but if you sweep more and more issues under the rug, your company will be in a truly tight position that was avoidable.
The pandemic has and will continue to be hard on everyone, including the millions of workers who are working remotely. Managers for remote employees should put clear communication as a top priority to keep employees on track and everyone on the same page. Make essential resources available online and take the time to inject some positivity into the company culture, or you risk future demotivating employees.