As the effects of the Coronavirus progress on the nation's economy, working from home has been the saving grace for many businesses in recent weeks. Especially for employees. If you’re a company that has been able to make the transition to working remotely, you may still have concerns about how to effectively manage things on a virtual level.
Don’t worry! You can still maintain a company culture with solidarity during a time of instability. The challenges for your employees may be obvious: feelings of isolation, loneliness, and insecurity.
We’re going to give you some of the best ways you can build morale for employees who work remotely. But first, let’s talk about why company morale is important in a time like this.
About 3.6% of the U.S. workforce already works remotely at least half the time, and according to research provided by the Global Workplace Analytics team, they estimate that number going up to 25-30% in the next couple of years.
There are a few ways that working remotely can impact your employees. The thing is, this can be a positive or a negative change, depending on how you go about it.
Working remote can affect these areas of your business:
Of course, if your employees don’t feel motivated, productivity goes down. Studies have shown that a company that offers flexible work arrangements can actually help increase morale and productivity. But when it’s in a time of crisis, like it’s been for so many businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the total isolation in itself can be a distraction for some people.
Reliable communication is the key to working remotely—both on the employee and employer ends. Later we’ll give you some tips on how you can best maintain communication with your employees, as well as a productive business.
Right now, stress levels may be at an all-time high. Learning how to adapt in-office practices to remote operations can be frustrating, and that impacts morale all around. But giving your employees time to adjust will certainly help with company-wide anxieties.
Working from home can actually lower costs for everyone. Factoring commute and travel, food, and even parking can reduce costs for employees, while employers can cut down on supplies and other in-office amenities. All that money saved can turn into extra energy put into projects and goals.
Like we said, communication is key in working from home. Include everyone in company announcements and update your team regularly on any changes or plans for your company (once a week, for example).
Be consistent with this. As management, you need to be honest and transparent with your employees, and you should encourage the same attitude from them. Make yourself available for any questions or concerns to provide your employees with a sense of stability and guidance.
From the beginning, set clear expectations for employee performance and how you intend to manage things going forward. This includes any team goals, projects put on hold, new objectives, etc.
Giving performance feedback on a regular basis will help with morale, while at the same time, boosting healthy communication between management and employees. People are more motivated to do their job well when they see that their managers care.
Instant messaging platforms make it easier to foster consistent and constant communication between coworkers, departments, managers, and administration. Different platforms will have different features and interfaces, so you can try out different ones to see which platform makes the most sense for your business.
Some of the more popular ones are:
It’s important to show your employees that you trust their work ethic by trying not to micromanage. After you set clear objectives and provided all the necessary channels for communication, you’ve already set the stage for your employees to prove that they’ll get the job done.
If problems do arise, remember that it’s a stressful time for everyone. Being understanding (but fair in your expectations) can go a long way to building morale with your employees while they work remotely.
When you achieve goals and objectives, celebrate it with your team! Make sure to recognize any key individuals that helped make it happen. Encourage people to shout-out their coworkers when projects get completed with collaborative efforts.
Lead by example. Even small victories can make a big impact, and now more than ever you can take advantage of them by maintaining a positive outlook!
It may sound corny, but there are a few ways you can keep morale afloat and stay connected with some virtual team building activities!
Reach out with a company-wide poll, or a fun Buzzfeed quiz for entertainment.
Have you heard about virtual coffee chats with your coworkers? Or try some of these ongoing virtual games, like Words with Friends, Solitaire, and even Monopoly!
It really doesn’t even have to be that involved. Have employees send out occasional update pictures of their remote workspace or just a picture update on something in their lives. That can open up a discussion on how people are doing in their personal lives, giving them an opportunity to share and feel included.
It’s certainly a stressful and uncertain time, but these tips can help you maintain morale for your employees while you work remotely. If you still need some advice or have any questions about business management during a crisis, we’re here to help! Contact us at Digital Resource today!