This is a guest post from Addison Shaw. Addison is a content editor for Better Buys, where she writes about all things software related, ranging from topics on BI, HRMS, LMS, and a few other software categories. When she’s not writing she loves curling up in her papasan chair with a glass of wine and Nintendo Switch in hand.
In the blink of an eye, the world has changed more dramatically than we ever expected it to. The sudden impact of the worldwide pandemic has seen as many offices as possible turn into remote working companies almost overnight. The problem for so many of these businesses is that neither the company nor the employees were particularly prepared for this massive shift in lifestyle and working setup.
It’s highly likely that your company has already experienced many teething issues in the process, most particularly in how to keep your employees engaged and motivated. Without face-to-face contact, it can be hard to stay focused on work projects, especially if you throw pets, housework, children home from school and a myriad of other distractions into the mix. Now, more than ever, a human resource management system is an essential tool for ensuring proper workflow and employee happiness.
With the right tools and processes in place, you can keep your employees engaged in their work and feeling like they are still part of a team – no matter how far apart you are physically. It’s all about setting up new rules for a new way of working.
Schedule Mandatory Morning Check-In Meetings
It’s important to start the day off on the right foot. So many people who are new to working from home think that it’ll be fine to stay in their pajamas and sleep in, rather than sticking to their regular work routine.
By setting up a recurring video conference with your team each morning, every employee will feel the need to get up, get dressed and get ready for work on time. This helps to get people in the right frame of mind to do a full day’s work and can be an excellent motivator.
These morning meetings can do a number of different things for your team. They are a proper way for you as a boss or manager to stay on top of projects and ensure that deadlines are being adhered to.
They are also a way for your employees to get that daily face-to-face interaction with their colleagues, and to maintain a real connection. It can be very lonely working from home, so seeing people (even virtually) each day gives you a little pep that can help you to make it through to clocking off time.
Store Important Data in a Collaborative Cloud-Based Program
When you’re in an office and you need information from someone, it’s a simple case of walking over to their desk and asking for it. In a remote setup, this can be a lot trickier because files need to be requested and then emailed, and this can cause delays. This is why it’s so important to store information that several employees work from on a cloud-based solution. People can then access it whenever they need to.
The other key to this is to look for a collaborative solution. If you don’t have a collaborative storage option, you could end up with a situation like this: if two employees download the same document at the same time, work on it and then upload the new version at different times, the second person to upload the document will override the changes that the first person made.
In a collaborative solution, people will work online on the same document and no individual changes will be lost in the process. You can also check version histories to see what changes were made, when they were made, and by whom.
Show Employees How to Set Up a Proper Work Station at Home
Change and adjusting to new situations work best when it starts from the top down. As a manager or boss, it’s important to show your employees how you are coping with the new setup of working from home. You should make sure that you are always on time and properly prepared for each video conference – especially the morning check-ins. Then there is the setting up of your home workspace. If you can show your employees how it should be done, they’ll be encouraged to do the same in their homes.
Encourage your employees to set up a workstation that is as free from distractions as possible. The area should be just for work – not close to a TV or where you and other people in the house go to relax. Keeping those areas separate will help to keep you focused on work and won’t confuse your brain as much by trying to work in a space you associate with downtime.
Do Something Social at Least Once a Week
If you like to do after-work drinks in the office on a Friday evening, then stick to that. If the whole team has lunch together on a particular day, keep up the tradition. If you don’t have any traditions, now is a good time to start them.
All of these things can be done virtually on a video conferencing setup. It won’t be quite the same, but it will at least allow people to chat about non-work-related topics with their colleagues, and keep everyone feeling like they are in this together.
Take Time to Check in with Each Team Member
As someone in charge, it is your responsibility to make sure that all of your employees feel happy and that their grievances are being heard. It’s just a little trickier to do this remotely because you can’t see people’s faces all day in the office, and spot problems before they become big issues.
Create a roster of all your employees and check in with at least one person a day on a one-on-one basis. Schedule in a video call so you can see their face, as this forges more of a connection too. Through your roster, you can make sure that no one gets left out and you can make notes on any concerns that crop up so you know who to keep closer tabs on if there are any issues.
While working from home poses many challenges it can be a good opportunity to connect on a new level. This new form of connection can keep employees engaged, and ensure that they perform at their optimum as they feel happy, secure and confident in their roles.