Due to COVID-19, remote working has become a necessity for many businesses. However, many business owners may be at a loss for how to adapt to such a sudden switch. The question now is: how to continue operations with as little disruption to business as possible? One important factor in this is keeping employees engaged and productive.
While remote working has its benefits, it can also pose challenges for employers and management. Low engagement is a top concern for businesses with remote workers, and this can have a significant impact on productivity. To help businesses succeed during this challenging time, here are Peninsula’s tips for boosting engagement in employees that are working remotely.
Establish a Policy
Having a company policy on remote working is helpful because it establishes a set of rules and expectations for employees to follow. With clear instructions, employees may be less likely to waste time or act inappropriately while working remotely. Work from home policies should include guidance on the appropriate use of company equipment, such as laptops and phones, to prevent distractions and misuse.
A work from the home policy should also set requirements for responsiveness. These should outline what modes of communication the employee is expected to use and how quickly they must respond to emails, calls, and messages. Policies should always be easily accessible to employees for their reference
Life has changed for everybody, and that may extend to people’s circumstances at home. Employees may have children home due to school closures or they may have to take care of other dependents or family members who are sick due to COVID-19. Their ability to work will be affected by their environment and responsibilities and it’s important to be sensitive to that.
Allowing employees to work flexible hours where possible can help them attain a better work-life balance and improve the quality of their work. With the option of working when it is best for them (subject to operational requirements), employees will be more focused and efficient when working and are less likely to get distracted by their other obligations. To ensure they are still integrated with their team, special hours may be set for when they must be available for virtual meetings and other communications.
One of the best ways to keep employees engaged is through good communication. Having virtual team meetings, group calls and chats will ensure that your workers still feel part of a team and that they are valuable. From a management perspective, checking in with employees regularly conveys expectations and motivates them to work as usual. Isolation may negatively affect some workers’ productivity, especially if they aren’t being held accountable for completing their work. For this reason, it is important to set targets and goals for remote workers where applicable.
Set Goals and Targets
In order to do their best work, some employees need structure and consistent management. Setting targets and goals for your employees to work towards ensures there is steady, trackable progress and that projects are being completed on schedule. Deadlines help motivate workers and provide them with a schedule to follow even when their work experience might seem devoid of all other regular routines. Management should check on employees’ progress and whether they have enough work to do regularly but should be careful not to micromanage them daily.
Ask for Feedback
Get your employees involved by asking for their input on how the business can be improved. Listening to and implementing your employees’ ideas demonstrates that you value them and can help to engage employees in their work. This is especially important for workers who are not physically connected to the workplace. Employers can also ask employees about their remote work experience and whether it needs any improvement. To prevent wasted time due to unresolved issues, encourage employees to immediately raise their concerns with management if they run into many obstacles when working from home. Employees should be instructed on how to report any technical issues and how to address any other work-related problems they might have. Quick problem resolution allows employees to sustain their regular work pace at home without permanently slipping to lower levels of productivity.
Peninsula is a trusted HR and Health & Safety advisory, serving over 80,000 small businesses worldwide. Clients are supported with ongoing updates of their workplace documentation and policies as legislation changes. Additionally, clients benefit from 24/7 employer HR advice and are protected by legal insurance. Contact us today to learn more about how we help employers succeed: 1-833-247-3652.