“We’re all in this together” – As our nation, and global friends & families, seek triumph over COVID-19, how many times have you heard this encouraging statement?
Ironically, “together”, in this case, often requires “being apart”. For businesses, this means having to figure out how to most effectively maintain employee engagement, motivation, and company culture during this period of isolation.
As the majority of the workforce has transitioned to work-from-home at a rapid pace, both employers and employees have had to adjust.
However, as this is a relatively new wide-scale phenomenon likely to continue into the foreseeable future, wise leaders are now considering new avenues of engagement and communication with their employees and amongst teams.
Motivation, engagement, and enthusiasm can be attained, and sustained, in many ways and customized for the needs of each particular organization.
Communicate live regularly
Whether via phone or video, checking in regularly promotes the ongoing cohesiveness of the team. As colleagues discuss work, they are also able to share ideas and often a laugh or two!
Many helpful tools can facilitate live communication.
Skype for Business is a cost-effective video-conference tool which integrates with Microsoft Office;
Google Hangouts easily sets up for both desktop and app, and offers free service useful for large teams, and is built into Google+ and Gmail;
Zoom provides affordably-priced video-conferencing services for effective collaboration;
Introduce team management software
Team sizes, needs, and budgets vary, but Microsoft Teams, Trello, and Monday.com are consistently reliable tools to assist with engagement and project management.
Microsoft Teams offers a combination of instant chat, Skype & project management tools, and integrates with Microsoft Office;
Trello tackles project management with board, list, & card formats and integrates with Google Drive, & Slack, and offers an app;
Monday.com provides colorful, creative interfaces to assist with project management.
Establishing strong trust is essential between leaders and teams. By identifying, and implementing, the most effective forms of communication, along with clear expectations for their employees, managers can confidently rely on an honest work ethic.
Recognition, via any type of communication, energizes productivity, and the motivation for employees to excel. Find simple ways to acknowledge a job well done! Even better, celebrate successes with recognition amongst the peers and management!
Respect time zones
Understand, especially during this pandemic, that childcare and family commitments vary; therefore, work schedules/meetings and time expectations should be accommodated appropriately given the local time for the employee.
Without daily commutes providing physical office arrival/leave times, employees often work beyond the normal work hours. On occasion, some workers experience burnout as they struggle to satisfactorily complete their day.
Boundaries help define productive work time and promote a healthy work/life balance to avoid the exhaustion and stress which overwork creates.
Promote social interactions
Oftentimes, work hours pass quickly without any invigorating social interaction amongst colleagues.
Schedule time during the workday to break away from the tedium of work to refresh with virtual social interactions such as coffee chats, online trivia competitions, video lunch, or end-of-day happy hour conversation.
Find what works best. Employees will appreciate the normalcy of virtual breakroom human interaction!
Positive work culture is contagious. Work from home is a win-win for both the employer and the employee. Employers can be thankful that business continuity remains intact with their talented staff, and dedicated employees appreciate the flexibility to remain safe and healthy while balancing both work and life commitments.
“Working together” provides strength, even in isolation.
By sparking the spirit and determination of employees through various employee engagement techniques, employers will propel their company towards continued success.
And, equally important, by balancing a caring and professional company culture, leaders will maintain employee confidence and enthusiasm for the future.