With the pandemic hitting us and taking us all like the massive wave of an ocean, many sudden unexpected changes happened. But, while the plague took some businesses with the wave of recession it brought with it, some of them still stood firm like a giant tree. And the ones that did stand earned more than ever all of 2020. These are sure difficult times right now, but with the strong support of the government and the consumers, businesses will definitely flourish.
With the pandemic came the new season of lockdown. Shops closed down all of a sudden, businesses starting to buy and sell goods online, offices shifting from physical to virtual workplaces, and whatnot. Organizations had no other option but to switch to work from home, or WFH, as everyone likes to say these days, due to COVID-19. They had to take care of the smallest of the things with keeping in mind the rules set up by the government and WHO (World Health Organization). The only thing that kept them going during these challenging times was their employees, and they gave their best to boost their engagement.
Active employee engagement increases productivity and boosts morale. As timely and head-scratching as it might be, its after-effects are remarkable and will help companies grow. With the right monitoring tools and techniques on them, superiors can easily manage their workforce engagement. Supporting this point, factoHR.com rightly mentioned that keeping them engaged allows them to remain productive by focusing enough on the targets.
Since remote working has become more of a compulsion rather than just a facility, businesses must develop better engagement ideas since they will ultimately benefit from the same.
Let us first understand the meaning of remote working.
What Is Remote Working
Remote working is the most common trend used by very many industries in today’s day and age. It is most utilized by millennials and is very much in demand due to the plague. It has surely changed the way businesses communicate and collaborate with their staff members, and its usage won’t stop even after the virus goes away.
Remote working eliminates the old stereotype of work happening only in the work premises in a cubicle. It eliminates the use of a traditional workplace and allows users the flexibility of working any time, anywhere, from any location possible using collaborative tools and technology.
Since remote working provides workers with the flexibility and the independence of working from any location, they tend to be more themselves, which leads to productivity and better work engagement. To ensure that the workers rightly.
They tend to be happier than they would be in a typical office space. Organizations that offer this facility tend to attract more talent than others, therefore upping their retention numbers. In fact, statistics determine that almost 74% of employees are less likely to leave a workplace that provides remote working facilities.
How To Make Remote Working Better For Your Staff
Provided below are some of the best employee engagement ideas you can think about implementing for your work from home workers during and even after the COVID virus-
Connect And Communicate Virtually
To keep the enthusiasm alive between your staff members, you need to ensure active communication. You can attain the same by means and channels like Skype, Google Hangouts, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, etc. These will help make idea and feedback exchange easy and ensure proper project and individual work communication. They also allow users to effortlessly share and receive audio files, video files, images, and documents to stop the workflow.
You can also use video conferencing tools like Google Duo, Zoom, etc. Chats and Emails are great connectors to build business relationships online, but video calls are more effective. Face-to-face virtual communication helps employees feel more connected. Effective communication tools will solve the staff’s queries and problems and make them feel like they are part of the squad, even if it is virtually.
Provide Virtual Breaks
Even if your staff is working remotely, everyone deserves a break. Taking a break to cool their minds has made workers more engaged and motivated with and for their work. So, just like you would allow coffee breaks under normal circumstances in your office, you should allow them with virtual ones too. They can chit-chat and relieve their mind off the work pressure by coming together for a video call over a quick bite or a cup of coffee.
You can successfully organize breaks by keeping them time-specific and feasible for all of your staff members. Set a particular time and decide whether you will keep it in the first half of the day or the second half. You can also make those breaks casual by allowing everyone to share memes, checking their phone, etc. You can also divide the break timings if you are dealing with a large number of people.
Check On Your Employees Regularly
Your jobholders should feel that the workforce is their second family, and you should care for them exactly like that. Care is much needed, especially during the time of a deadly virus surrounding us. By making yourself just a call away from your personnel, you make them happy and linked with work and foster positive relationships. Talk to them about life outside their job, show you care for them, be there for them.
You also have to ensure that you don’t invade their space by asking them too many questions while you are at it. Respect their private bubble.
Make Online Recognition A Thing
So what if your employees are stuck at home for almost a year? That shouldn’t stop you from recognizing their efforts. They were at work, even if it was through digital means. You should make virtual recognition a thing in your office and provide your personnel with the same.
Recognized and praised personnel is more motivated and aim-driven, and they always perform a little better than their average best. Therefore, praising workers for their work regularly ups retention numbers by a lot, and this is why you should offer appraisals online. You can do so by uploading something for them on the company’s social media or sending them money through Paytm and other digital wallets.
Ask For Genuine Responses
When you implement new policies regarding work from home, ask your staff to give you honest feedback on the imposed rules and what can be changed according to their point of view. This will make them feel heard and their opinions being counted. They will feel as if they are valued, and there is someone at the top level too that listens to them. This will boost their morale and keep them productive.
Please make sure that you also give out yours for the duties they fulfill and ask for their opinions. This will make them excel in their work and also develop their talents.
Provide Virtual Water Coolers
Apart from giving them virtual coffee breaks, you can also provide them a virtual water cooler facility, i.e., an additional chatbox where your employees can rant about anything. Since most conversations are exchanged near water coolers (according to Dwight from The Office), you should make it a thing online too.
Since water cooler chats are the best means to exchange personal talks and help workers know each other better, you can use Hangouts or any other fun chatting app, create a group on it, add all your jobholders, and encourage them to use it as much as they can and talk only about things unrelated to their jobs. Images, videos, and GIFs can also be exchanged as part of encouragement activities.
Introduce Gamification Techniques
Work doesn’t always have to be boring, it can be fun too, and you have the power to help your employees believe in this theory. Working from home shouldn’t just be limited to working only. By using certain multiplayer games that need nothing else but a mobile phone and data connectivity, you can help get that competitive edge back in your personnel. Since these games allot virtual awards and coins, workers get competitive while playing and freshen themselves up. This will not only motivate them but also encourage them to perform their best. You can ask them for their choice of multiplayer games and play them with them.
Make Video-call Meetings Fun
Apart from working virtually, your staff will also have to attend meetings on-the-web too through video-calling applications. Since communication gets slower when exchanging Emails, face-to-face meetings are much faster and more effective. But, these meetings can also get boring sometimes. That’s why to keep the work spice up among your workforce, and you have to come up with ideas to make video meetings fun. For example, you can arrange pet day on video meetings, parties, etc.
You also need to ensure not to organize them very often to keep them engaged. If it’s for small businesses that can be exchanged through the mail, keep it at that. Also, if you organize them, make sure you only add the ones necessary, not everyone. Divide roles among all the ones attending, and give everyone a chance to lead them. This will increase their morale and not keep them disengaged.
The rapid increase in workers demanding work from home from organizations clearly shows that demand and need will only grow in the next couple of years, even after we bid ciao to COVID. That is why it is vital to keep these engagement tips and tricks handy to keep your personnel motivated. The successful usage of these strategies will help keep them happy and satisfied with their jobs and the company and increase their productivity.