As events progress, some people may be able to get back into their offices. However, for a vast majority of employees, working from home is a situation that may continue for many weeks and months longer. As we move forward, it may even be that working remotely becomes more and more common as a way to accommodate different illnesses and needs; and this is a positive development. Yet for those who need to motivate and keep a team working fluidly together, this will certainly present new challenges.How can you keep employees engaged with their work when isolated and make sure that the ‘office atmosphere’ doesn’t dissipate into a series of individuals all working separately with minimal camaraderie or motivation?
Limit the Meetings
It may seem counter-intuitive, but many people have reported that daily (or in some cases, twice-daily) video meetings with their colleagues have actually had the opposite effect to that which was intended. Video calls are mentally draining, and if there is not a specific purpose to them, they can interrupt your employees’ workflow and leave them feeling frustrated. Instead, try to hold a check-in call every other day instead, so you’re keeping the team engaged with each other without asking too much of everyone’s time.
What can you do if you aren’t able to gather in person for team-building fun? Do it online, of course! For a bit of extra fun, you could post each employee an invitation, using a QR maker to send each person a code that will lead them to an online activity such as a treasure hunt, code-breaking exercise, or a live problem-solving game. Breaking up the daily grind with a day or two in which your employees engage with each other in a different way, even if that is through digital methods, will help them to work together as a team and motivate them for future work.
If any of your employees are working from home, it’s good if you can be flexible regarding their working hours. Different structures work best for different people, and if you can trust your employees to get their work done whilst accommodating their needs, you will inspire loyalty and motivation in your staff. Without commuting, some people might prefer to start and finish earlier – or other may want to take advantage of a small lie-in before they start their day. Allowing small changes will help to keep employees feel engaged and in control of their workload.
This might not be possible in all workplaces, but where you can, consider varying the tasks you are asking your employees to complete as much as possible. You could assign tasks at random, or rotate different jobs around the ‘office’. Giving people different things to think about can help stave off the monotony of a simple task, and keep employees engaged even when they have little other stimuli to work with. Ultimately, the best way you can keep them engaged from afar is to be flexible, communicative, and make any discussion of how to move forward into a two-way street.