6 Ways to Keep Your Newly Remote Workforce Healthy and Engaged
Working remotely used to be a benefit offered by companies to provide a more flexible lifestyle for their employees. However, when COVID-19 reached pandemic status, many employees who were used to working in an office suddenly found themselves setting up their work space at home, often trying to juggle work with taking care of kids who were no longer in school. This new way of working is changing the way employees interact with their managers and co-workers making it an extremely challenging situation for both employees and employers. Companies have introduced tools for virtual meetings and set up virtual check-ins, but is it enough for employees to maintain productivity and avoid feeling isolated? Here are six ways you can keep your newly remote workforce healthy and engaged during the current pandemic:
Review your internal communications strategy A clear and concise internal communication strategy is important to engage your newly remote workforce. Review your current strategy and determine whether any updates are necessary now that your employees are remote. Consider tailoring the content and the format (i.e. email, video or teleconferencing) for various audiences. During these uncertain times, employees appreciate receiving timely and accurate information from their employer. Touch base consistently to prevent disengagement Employees may feel disconnected or isolated while working remotely. Scheduling regular times to touch base, either by phone or video, can be extremely helpful to ensure everyone is on the same page, and the face-to-face interactions with managers and team members can be invaluable to your business.
Make collaboration seamless Make sure your employees know the tools and technology that are available to them so they can collaborate easily. Collaboration is one of the greatest factors for improving productivity, however, it can be extremely difficult to achieve when employees are working in different places. Platforms that make it easy to exchange ideas in real-time and share files are vital to keeping projects moving forward.
Be sympathetic and available Employees are likely feeling anxious and overwhelmed these days and everyone is dealing with a different set of circumstances. It is important to be sympathetic and make yourself available to answer questions and reassure your staff about any work-related issues that might arise. Be aware of isolation and loneliness Working remotely may cause some individuals to feel isolated or lonely, which can lead to depression and other mental health issues. It is important to check-in with your employees, find out how they are doing and offer support. If you notice significant changes in an employee’s personality or the work they are delivering, it may be a sign that they are struggling. Educate employees on the benefits of your organization’s EAP and health plan Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and company health plans are there to support employees and connect them with behavioral health specialists during difficult times. Remind employees that these benefits are available to them and be sure to include relevant website links and phone numbers for your organization's EAP and health plans so employees can easily access them. Sources SMARP American Psychiatric Association, Center for Workplace Mental Health