The workplace has changed a lot in the last five months. And while some companies are now having employees return to the office again, there will continue to be more employees working remotely in both the short-term and into the foreseeable future. Keeping a focus on the best ways to manage and engage your remote workforce will remain critical to your engagement and retention strategy regardless of what lies ahead.
If there’s only one thing taken away from this article, it should be to never underestimate the importance of communicating openly and frequently with remote workers. Whether it’s to discuss important updates on a pressing project, or simply a chance to check in that nothing has changed, employees will feel included and part of the team when you stick to a consistent cadence of keeping in touch. Being open and transparent about the health of the organization and its strategic plans will establish and maintain trust.
In addition to communicating about assignments, it’s just as important to take advantage of a variety of ways to connect that go beyond work topics. If your company culture consisted of special events and holidays like anniversary and birthday celebrations, continue them in a modified way. While there’s always the option of virtual coffee breaks and happy hours, feel free to get creative and take it further with virtual trivia events, online games, and even karaoke. Finding unique ways to connect with your remote workforce is a great way to develop your company culture into one that you can leverage when it comes time to bring additional remote staff onboard.
Now that the school year has resumed, many are struggling to balance their workload with demands on the home front. The more you can demonstrate flexibility and understanding when it comes to employee circumstances, the more you’ll gain appreciation and loyalty for being accommodating. Consider offering flextime to give people a little ease in their scheduling needs. Flextime can be limited to keeping the core of the workday set to ensure teams can still collaborate, but then allow the start and end of the day to shift. Encourage people to work into their schedule enough time to take care of their physical and mental health, whether it’s to exercise, meditate, or check-in with a friend or family member.
The new reality we’re facing might be full of uncertainty, but what’s certain is that working remotely is here to stay. Companies that make the effort to communicate, connect, and accommodate their remote workforce will reap the benefits of improved engagement, increased productivity, and an enhanced culture capable of attracting the right talent down the road.