Restrictions have started to lift, and employers have begun the process of reopening their offices and recalling employees from their home offices. But for those employees that remain remote, here are 10 ways to keep them engaged.
Approximately two-thirds (64%) of employees reported in a Citrix poll from May that they were not comfortable going back to the office just yet. Nearly three-fifths (59%) of those currently working from home due to COVID-19 reported that they would continue to do so if given the option once restrictions are lifted, according to a recent Fluent Pulse survey. These remote workers reported the top three benefits of working from home as
With the majority of employees wishing to continue their work from home arrangement, coupled with the past several months of successfully completing their roles and responsibilities, it may be better to wait an extra few weeks before bringing your employees back to the office. To help your manager and employees stay connected for a longer than initially anticipated timeframe, McLean and Company has created a list of work from home tips.
1. Over-communicate and cascade information
Employees can easily feel out of the loop when they’re not in the office. Update your team regularly with clear and consistent messaging. Make a list of everyone you need to touch base with and keep informed.
2. Focus on expected outcomes instead of tasks
Discuss outcomes to avoid micromanaging – no easy task when you’re managing a remote team.
3. Act as a connector
No one expects you to know everything during this time. Connect your employees with the right people and resources for any questions they have.
4. Set up online meeting structures
Encourage the use of webcams, assign meeting roles, set an agenda, or set up meeting symbols, such as a hand emoticon, that employees can use when they want to say something.
5. Be proactive in asking for feedback and providing support
Actively build connections with your team members and find out exactly what you can do to provide support. Employees will have different preferences or needs when they work from home. Ask “What can I be doing better?” to make sure you’re providing the support they need.
6. Encourage structure
Routines are important to keep some semblance of normalcy. Work with your team to develop a routine but avoid being over-prescriptive. For example, set a schedule for daily stand-up meetings or quick five- minute chats with your team to touch base.
7. Avoid nonessential meetings
Avoid over-collaborating and micromanaging by asking if a meeting can be an email instead. A good rule of thumb is to ask if all participants need to be present at the same time in order to have the discussion or if it can be an email thread instead.
8. Model the behavior
The shift to working from home can feel like a cultural change for many, but as a manager, modeling the behavior is key since employees look to you for guidance. Be open, honest, and flexible in order to help your team adapt to the many changes they’re experiencing.
9. Take care of yourself to take care of your employees
To support your employees, you need to be resilient. Remember that you’re an employee too and check out the Work From Home Tips for Employees (ASE login required) for support.
10. Lend an empathetic and compassionate ear
At a time when there is so much uncertainty and high stress, it’s important to remind employees that they’re not alone and that you’re all in this together.
Additional ASE Resources
ASE Pulse Engagement Survey - ASE has created a short, easy-to-implement pulse survey to measure your employees' post-pandemic sentiment. For more information, contact Kevin Marrs.
McLean & Company Engagement Survey - A larger-scale pulse engagement survey is available through ASE's partner, McLean & Company. For more information, please contact George Brown.
Virtual Work Resources - For helpful information on virtual work please visit the ASE Virtual Work Resources webpage.
Source: McLean and Company, Fluent Pulse Survey, Citrix Survey