Five Ways To Engage And Support Your Team Remotely
2 February 2021
After the sudden shift to working from home last year, data shows that 75% of people said they felt more socially isolated, 67% reported higher stress and 57% felt greater anxiety.
Engaging your team can be challenging enough at the best of times, but as we have all experienced in one way or another, COVID-19 has introduced a whole new layer of complexity and challenge to the ‘workplace.’
After the sudden shift to working from home last year, a global study by Qualtrics and SAP (March and April 2020) revealed that 75% of people said they felt more socially isolated, 67% reported higher stress and 57% of respondents felt greater anxiety.
Nearly a year later, and with vaccines being rapidly distributed, some would say the end is in sight. Yet, with most employees working remotely worldwide and a large number of people still furloughed in the UK, life for many is not returning to normal anytime soon.
More than ever, there is a need to support your employees, no matter how accustomed everyone seems to be to the current circumstances. As leaders or HR professionals, you can take several steps to engage employees at home and encourage them to take care of their wellbeing.
Here are five ways to boost team morale and create a more positive employee experience remotely:
1) Communicate openly and honestly with your team.
A lack of effective communication can impact people’s level of trust with each other and management, so it’s vital to communicate often, and to stay connected while working from home.
Continue to organize regular check-ins with employees (daily or weekly) to help prioritize tasks or set up company-wide video calls to announce new updates. Be proactive in reaching out to your team throughout the workday and be transparent about expectations and progress, so people feel on the right track to reach their goals.
2) Support all areas of employee well-being, from financial to mental and physical.
Be clear about the mental health resources available to everyone within the company and that there is always someone to speak to confidentially. Building a network of coaches or a well-being “squad” can help your company drive new initiatives and raise awareness of wellness programs. It can be helpful to use these groups to remind the broader company of the online resources you have to offer, such as on-demand videos, articles, or podcasts. Some people will want to leverage these resources often, while others may just want to know that they are there.
Implementing wellness programs can often be time-consuming and may come at a cost, but they can significantly improve people’s productivity and happiness. Alternatively, you can introduce a monthly allowance that helps employees purchase health and well-being initiatives of their own choosing, which they can then use themselves at any time.
3) Encourage employees to maintain healthy boundaries.
Gone are the days of casual conversations and lunch breaks with colleagues at the office in between meetings. During the long winter months, it’s vital to encourage your team to keep their wellbeing in the foreground by promoting regular breaks to unwind and stay active.
Create a hub to promote work-life balance and specific health and fitness events. Explore engagement platforms or use Slack channels to post challenges to encourage your team to get involved in step competitions or company-wide runs. Set goals that are important to your people, which will motivate them to break up their workday.
4) Actively encourage collaboration and an environment where teamwork thrives.
There are a few ways you can foster collaboration among your remote team to help them improve their efficiency and productivity. Setting up a daily or weekly standup is an effective way for your team to stay connected with ongoing projects and accomplishments. These team meetings allow people to speak about their achievements as well as raise awareness about outstanding work. It’s important to come together as a team to discuss what worked well, what areas need improvement, and what can be changed to help productivity.
When it comes to large chat groups, often people become disengaged and overwhelmed by irrelevant messages. Try to avoid using one big channel on your live chat platform to discuss work, as information quickly gets lost. Instead, create discussion channels for separate topics or projects, so people can identify messages that are most relevant to their own work.
5) Empower and motivate employees with meaningful work.
People who find meaning at work are happier, more productive, and more engaged. Ensure that your people have clearly defined roles and that each person is aware of how their position contributes to your company’s success.
Continue to raise awareness about your company mission and values internally and emphasize what can be achieved through everyone’s contribution during this challenging time. In addition to praising people individually, share company wins with your team as they occur using live chat channels like Slack or weekly company calls to create a more positive atmosphere. Sharing positive news regularly reassures employees that there are still successes to be had, even in difficult times.
If you are focusing on improving your employee engagement strategies and are interested in learning more about the key drivers affecting employee experience, download our free Guide to Employee Engagement Post-COVID here.