The pandemic has left many of us working from home, and with surging cases, new variants, and ever-changing guidelines, remote work doesn’t seem as though it will become a thing of the past anytime soon. Even after the pandemic, working from home will likely continue to grow in popularity.
While remote work certainly has its benefits—no commuting, saving more money, and enjoying the comforts of home—losing in-person interactions and staying motivated can be incredibly difficult. Despite becoming more common, employees can struggle to stay in their remote positions long-term.
Under the circumstances, earning your employees’ commitment and investment may seem like a daunting task, but it’s certainly not impossible. Here are six tips so that you can succeed in fostering an engaging, collaborative work environment.
It can be hard to know where to start. That’s why getting your employees’ thoughts on the current situation can give you the information you need to make the future of your workplace more engaging.
Create an environment where it feels safe to express opinions. To open the door to discussion during meetings, consider hosting a company-sponsored virtual lunch. Use a food delivery service like DoorDash or Grubhub to send meals to your employees. Eating while discussing will help create a more comfortable atmosphere for people to express their thoughts on working from home while also giving everyone a chance to mingle.
Every opinion is valuable, but not everyone feels comfortable disclosing all their thoughts openly. For those who prefer to remain anonymous, conduct regular surveys or open up an online suggestion box. It’s beneficial to get feedback from both newer and long-time employees, who will each have different perspectives to offer on what’s going well and what needs improvement. Implementing real change based on the feedback you receive lets employees know that their input is truly valued.
In order to stay engaged, employees must feel like a part of a team and know that their contributions are valued. Small acts of acknowledgement can go a long way in boosting morale and keeping employees motivated.
It’s important to acknowledge not just the big accomplishments, but the little ones too. A daily thank you for everyone’s dedication is a simple, but useful way to express your gratitude. You can also recognize individual employees during meetings, which in turn can encourage support among peers. Sending hand-written cards, gifts, or setting up rewards programs are additional ways to let your employees know they are valued.
Showing appreciation is key to communication and building up a meaningful, positive relationship with your employees.
Socializing is essential to building a sense of community among your team, but this can be difficult to accomplish through a screen. It’s easy to feel isolated when most social interactions are online. It’s one of the major downsides to working remotely, but this doesn’t mean that employees have to feel lonely. On the contrary, technology can provide advantages in this department.
Take 15 minutes during virtual meetings for short activities like Two Truths and a Lie, sharing bucket lists, or creating a storyline together. Even simply checking in on employees and asking how they’ve been can help combat feelings of isolation.
Longer activities can be a great option too. Technology provides a wide array of engaging events for everyone to connect through. Virtual escape rooms are a fun way to interact and accomplish something as a team. You can also try other similar activities like a murder mystery. You can even do a virtual retreat and pick from various options like a cooking class, wine tasting, yoga sessions, and more!
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