It looks like COVID-19, aka the novel coronavirus, will be with us for the next few months. Many companies have rolled out mandatory work from home policies in response to the World Health Organization announcement of the pandemic. This has created a new way of working for many employees that are normally accustomed to corporate office life.
We have spoken to many of our customers this week, and while most are taking it in stride, the one thing they are challenged with is operating remotely and still maintaining the same culture. The good news is we have some tips to help, just with a work from home twist.
Recognition, communication and staying connected are important to employees. While the craziness of the current landscape is top of mind, those things should continue to happen. The difference is that you need to communicate more often, find new reasons to recognize, and stay connected through different tools, now that many employees are not down the hall!
Ten ways to stay connected, communicate and recognize your “NEW” workforce:
- Be a cheerleader. Whether employees are remote or still in the building, acknowledge their anxiety and concerns. Organizations should continue to communicate the latest directions from national health authorities and share any good news that is happening throughout the company to boost morale.
- Appreciate the transition of first-time work from home employees. Recognize the challenges of working at home, provide tips on how they can stay productive, and, if possible, do a pulse survey. And don’t forget to reward them (especially if you have a points program) for demonstrating positive behaviors.
- Stay connected. Chat and messaging apps make it easy for remote employees to stay connected, ask questions and even recognize each other for helping or assisting on projects.
- Provide the tools and resources. Ensure staff has functioning laptops, mobile phones, collaborative software access, and tools to get work done no matter where they are working from.
- Meet virtually. If you can’t physically meet with staff, have virtual “face-to-face” meetings using video conferencing apps to engage teams and catch up daily. Better yet, use the tool to “gather” co-workers together and share recognition moments in front of a “live” audience!
- Counteract loneliness. Encourage work from home employees to reach out to peers by phone to see how each other is doing. This overcomes being less productive because of social isolation. Also, it’s an opportunity to recognize employees who support team members who are struggling.
- Highlight the benefits of working from home. Most remote employees have fewer interruptions from peers when working from home. Virtual staff report reduced stress from not having to commute to work, along with fewer office politics to deal with.
- Encourage learning online. Promote online courses through your Learning Management System (LMS) or public learning courses. Invite employees to try LinkedIn Learning or Udemy or free online courses at universities. Then, recognize their initiative and the new knowledge learned.
- Remember to celebrate. Now that many employees are working from home, don’t forget to continue celebrating. Whether it’s an employee’s birthday or career anniversary, recognize them through eCards, video recorded greetings or use a video conference to connect with a larger group of peers to celebrate.
- Timely communication. Virtual employees may often feel ignored and like they are the last to hear what’s going on. Hold a weekly team conference call to share the latest updates and recognition moments. Send emails out to remote employees first.
Download the infographic of our 10 tips here!
Recognition Reflection: What can you do to make recognition more effective for work from home employees?