The Coronavirus pandemic has significantly changed the business landscape across different industries. It completely redefined how employees work and communicate with each other and the top management. Though remote work is not a new concept for some companies, the majority of businesses are new to this.
With continued lockdown and shelter-in-place regulations implemented across borders, it seems like remote work is here to stay longer. Although some states have eased down on their social distancing orders over the past months, many employees are not keen on making their return to offices, especially those who are non-essential workers.
Working From Home Has Become the Norm
Immediately after the World Health Organization made a statement that Coronavirus has become a pandemic, remote work was no longer a privilege or an option anymore. A lot of companies were forced to adapt to a work-from-home set up for the safety and health of their employees.
According to a survey, the majority of businesses on a global scale encouraged or even required their employees to work from home. Companies even have to cancel business travels. This is regardless of whether their employees showed any signs of being infected by the virus.
Even though it has been several months already since companies have embraced remote work settings, a lot of employees and managers are still facing many challenges in trying to adjust to this paradigm shift. After all, working from home is not something everyone is used to.
Admittedly, there are a lot of distractions when working from home. Workers also feel more isolated from their colleagues and bosses due to less social interaction. During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, several surveys suggest more workers are feeling lonelier than ever.
How to Keep Employees Engaged While Working From Home
Distractions, stress, loneliness, and other mental health concerns could significantly affect a worker’s productivity and the company’s whole operation. By observing the following best practices throughout the work-from-home stint, employees will feel more at ease and productive while working remotely.
Promote Remote Work Space
A lot of office workers have never invested in a dedicated workstation in their homes, until after the Coronavirus pandemic struck. Since most workers now have to do their jobs at home, having a workstation at home is a must.
Companies should encourage their workers to create work stations, separated from communal spaces at home. Having a dedicated workstation at home is conducive for productivity and helps employees avoid getting distracted during office hours. Even a makeshift office space could do the trick.
Some companies even provide incentives to workers to promote the creation of home workstations. For single-parent employees having to juggle kids with special needs and work, you could help by providing funds to provide an e-learning platform for their children, like Gemiini.
Establish Work-From-Home Policies
Having clear company guidelines regarding remote work setup is crucial for maintaining or increasing work productivity. Provide various communication channels for your employees to reach each other easily. Nonetheless, provide room for flexibility, given that we are in unprecedented times.
Touch Base Regularly
A daily check-in with your employees could significantly impact their mental health. It helps your employees feel empowered and significant. With in-person office interactions impossible, employees can easily feel isolated. Even a simple “Hey, how’s your day?” could make a difference.
Respect Work-Life Boundaries
According to Harvard Business Review, just because working from home provides a sense of flexibility does not mean it leads to a balanced work-family life. Businesses must encourage their employees to detach themselves from work-related matters once the clock strikes 5 pm.
Most employees feel they have to be available 24/7 now that they are on a remote work setup. Clarify this matter with them. If employees are on the hook to their jobs any time of the day, they will eventually feel stressed and burnt out. So, if you have to send an email late at night, make them aware it’s not necessary to respond ASAP.
Encourage Continuous Collaboration
Having great teamwork within your company is one of the factors that lead to increased work productivity and overall business success. Have a regular Skype or Zoom meeting and discuss matters with your staff. Encourage employees to voice out their suggestions or concerns.
Other than that, be okay when an employee shares some personal insights or struggles. We are in a difficult time, and there are a lot of uncertainties ahead. A lending ear and emotional support are some of the things we need right now.
Considering all these suggestions, both management and employees should not forget the value of having fun and enjoying their experiences. The current crisis we are facing today will soon pass, so put on a smile and be kind.