For business owners who are now running their company with a team of people hunkered down in home offices, it may seem challenging to stay in touch, much less ensure that everyone is engaged in their work.
While you cannot see your team in person at the moment, there are still a number of ways to ensure that your employees are connected and engaged, especially during these trying times. Here are three to keep in mind.
Have Clearly Defined Work Goals
Here’s some good news: many people who work from home offices get their jobs done more quickly than when they are in their regular workplace. In other words, if you are concerned that your remote team is having trouble staying on task at home, chances are good this is not the case. However, to make sure that this extra-speedy and efficient work takes place, the employer must set clear and measurable goals. Since communicating with everyone is markedly different than it was before, it is crucial to be extra clear about each employee’s projects and responsibilities. Once everyone has a good handle on what they need to do, their engagement should increase.
Find Ways to Motivate Your Team
When you are all together working in the same physical office, it can be really easy to give high fives, words of praise and rewards for good work. Now that some, if not all, of your team is working out of their home offices, it is important to find other ways to award everyone for getting their projects done on time, attending virtual meetings and staying as positive as they can during these challenging times.
One way to do this is through innovative management software that will trace group and individual performance using a variety of data and metrics. Using this software, you can also offer badges, awards and game elements to projects to motivate your team to stay on task and do their best work.
Use Video Chat as Often as Possible
If you have ever told someone “reading tone in texts and e-mails is so difficult,” then you already understand the value of communicating by voice — either by phone or video chat. Granted, checking in via text or e-mail is still an effective way to ask a quick question or get some feedback from an employee on a task, but still make an effort to hold group or one-on-one meetings via video chat or phone at least once a week.
Reassure nervous employees with kids and dogs in the background that these types of distractions will not bother you; you aren't looking for formal meetings like pre-COVID days. You simply want to see everyone’s face, hear their voices and look for any non-verbal cues that indicate someone might be struggling. Seeing you and their fellow employees will really help your remote workers to feel as if they still belong to a team.
You Are all Doing a Great Job
During this time, it is important to remember that you and your remote team are doing the best you can. Yes, working remotely has its challenges, but it does not have to mean your team will figuratively be phoning in their work. By being especially clear about your expectations, using software to reward and encourage people, and seeing their faces in a video chat on a regular basis, your team should respond by staying engaged and producing outstanding work.