April 16, 2020
In the initial weeks of COVID-19 quarantine and working from home, most businesses were focused on simply maintaining operations. That meant ensuring employees had the necessary tools, that systems and files were accessible, that important information was still protected, etc.
Much of this is an ongoing process that continually needs to be monitored, reviewed, and adjusted, but many have at least started to settle into this new workflow.
Now, with quarantine measures continuing at least for the immediate future, it’s important to turn your attention to your employees’ needs and concerns. Left unchecked, continued remote work can result in employees feeling isolated and detached.
Days blur together, motivation decreases, and, eventually, work can start to suffer. To maintain your employees’ mental health, promote workplace culture, and keep your business running efficiently, it’s critical that you keep your employees engaged.
Here are a few simple ways to do that.
Set Clear Expectations
The first critical step in engagement (and operating remotely as a whole) is to set expectations. This will help build routines and workflows while maintaining accountability and reducing frustration. Let your employees know what their days should look like, when you expect them to be available, how they should be checking in, etc.
It’s good to allow some flexibility during this time. You don’t need to micromanage them or constantly be checking in, but you do need to hold them accountable and keep some normalcy.
Be willing to adapt as you learn what works and what doesn’t. Keep communication open as things evolve.
With everyone working in separate rooms on separate devices, utilizing modern collaboration tools is more important than ever. Office 365 has cloud sharing, editing, markup features, and more built into its suite of products, making it easy for multiple people to work on the same documents from their own devices.
In today’s interconnected world, there’s no excuse for employees to be sharing multiple copies of marked up documents as attachments. This not only creates a hassle of constantly having to download and juggle multiple documents, but it can result in people using outdated documents, missing changes, and making mistakes.
Encouraging collaboration and leveraging modern tools is a great way to keep employees engaged and focused.
Don’t assume your employees will come to you if they have an issue or they’re struggling with being disconnected. It’s important that you reach out to them directly and provide simple ways for them to communicate thoughts, ideas, concerns, and general feedback.
Setting up regular check-ins isn’t a bad idea. As time allows, try and do these either via phone or video call for extra engagement.
Encourage Learning Opportunities
With people unable to do much outside of their homes, now is a great time to encourage additional learning opportunities. This can provide a break from the daily monotony while also engaging and developing employees.
Whether it’s a web conference, an online course, a PDF, or just an informative blog post, send learning materials and opportunities to your workers. Encourage them to pursue subjects related to their responsibilities.
Use Communication Tools for Socializing
Using communication platforms like Microsoft Teams is great for work meetings, web conferences, and project chats, but it doesn’t all have to be strictly business. Many businesses are using video conferencing tools to host virtual happy hours, play games, or just chat.
Just like office-based chats aren’t always about business, digital ones shouldn’t be either. Consider setting up unique channels based on interests or topics where people can discuss non-work-related items.
You should show some restraint, of course, and make sure these don’t overtake actual business communication.
Provide the Support They Need
When employees are having technical problems, they become disengaged very quickly. Whether it’s an error with their device, a bug in their software, connection issues, or something else, it’s critical that their needs get addressed and taken care of quickly.
Trying to keep things running efficiently during this time of uncertainty, many businesses simply don’t have the time or energy to manage the individual technology needs of their staff.
This is where a quality IT partner can be a great asset.
At Expedient Technology Solutions, we provide a variety of IT services for large and small businesses, meeting the unique needs of your business. As a Microsoft Silver Competency Cloud Partner, we’re also equipped to help you integrate Office 365 and use it to its full capabilities during this time of remote operations.
For all your information technology needs in Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio, areas, contact Expedient Technology services today!