The global emergency situation has most of us working from our homes. As employers realise the advantages of remote and distributed teams, they are also realising there are also unique challenges involved.
One of the most pressing challenges with suddenly asking your employees to work from home is keeping them engaged and keeping the feeling of belongingness alive within them.
According to a survey conducted back in 2018, loneliness is the single biggest challenge that remote workers face. The worst part is, loneliness doesn’t just affect their productivity, it has been directly linked to the physical well being of an individual.
These effects are only going to magnify with a global pandemic added to the mix. At such a time, it is important that employers take active steps to ensure remote employees are engaged and know that someone is looking out for them.
The good news is, doing so doesn’t require enormous efforts. Here are a few easy ways you can show your employees that they aren’t alone during these difficult times:
Make Easy Communication A Priority
Facilitating communication is perhaps the most obvious way to ensure your employees feel a sense of belongingness. Having a common forum where all employees can connect and collaborate can go a long way in keeping employees in the loop.
Similarly, managers must make diligent efforts to update their teammates on progress/problems associated with a project. This way, they will be reminded that they aren’t alone, and are a part of something bigger. Moreover, they will also be reminded that their employer organisation needs them.
Smooth communication infrastructure is also necessary to ensure your employees can easily find help when they need it. Not being able to simply walk up to their manager to clear queries may come as a surprising challenge to many employees. Thus, it is important to make sure they can connect with their managers just as easily.
Invest In Training
Investing in the professional development of an employee is a great way to show that you care. With conferencing software, authoring tools, and learning management systems becoming more affordable and user friendly than ever before, delivering quality employee training to remote employees is no more a daunting challenge.
At a time when many employees are frustrated with the lack of bonuses, or yearly increments, investing in their future can also help you reduce employee retention. According to a 2019 study by LinkedIn, 94% of employees would stay with an organisation longer if it invested in their professional development.
Moreover, virtual instructor-led sessions or L&D forums can be a great way to treat your employees with some much needed contact with other human beings, even if it is virtual.
If you are worried about the cost of training employees, you may be surprised to know that businesses save an average of $11,000 per employee that works from home. The cost of training an employee can be carved out of these savings.
Organise Virtual Social Events
Virtual social events are the new trend in employee engagement, and companies have found some truly innovative ways to keep their company community strong.
One great example of such an event was displayed by software development firm Nagarro. The company brought together employees from various countries and asked them to make pancakes (on video call) in between work calls.
Another great example was put forth by the Help Scout team where every week, one employee gives a MTV Cribs style tour of their at-home-workplace.
While remote work isolation is a real challenge, it is very much possible to overcome it. All you need to do is put in the right kind of effort. If you find yourself running out of ideas, you can always ask your employees for suggestions on staying social with the team.