Stay-at-home Covid-19 emergency orders have flourished as work-from-home/anywhere opportunities for employees all across the globe.
While some employees find it convenient and more productive, managers need to be aware of how remote work can create feelings of isolation among team members. There can be conversational differences, technical glitches, and various other factors that can disturb the way employees work full-time.
When you’re used to seeing your colleagues or customers every day, feelings of isolation can creep in remarkably into your mind. The new remote working environment can also affect focus and a sense of team and creativity. It is not something that bothers everyone and is often talked about. But, when it comes to providing a healthy team environment and productivity, companies need to recognize ways to engage employees and manage the high-stress environment that often occurs when employees work remotely and when a big team is involved in a project.
Virtual rewards and recognition programs help to bring your remote team closer. Employees need to be appreciated during work from home more than ever as managing to get work done from an isolated setup may be challenging to some. A lack of physical proximity and the fear of missing out may create a lot of mental distress. Remote employees feel partially withdrawn from the company, as they don’t get to indulge in office activities fully. Amid this, celebrating their achievements motivates them to do more and perform better. Virtual rewards and employee recognition programs recognize the efforts of your remote workers. Recognizing and rewarding shows that the company acknowledges their hard work and makes up for missing out on all the fun activities and peer-to-peer communication.
Unlike rewards and recognition, offering incentives to employees can be a motivating factor for them to perform even better. Incentive programs work in companies very well because they leverage human behavior. A survey done at Cornell University showed that immediate rewards intensify employee motivation and further link their work to the company’s goals. Employees who are rewarded more frequently are more likely to be motivated to complete associated tasks. Which brings organizations more results and higher success rates.
Employees feel isolated and disoriented in this hybrid workplace reality. Therefore, it is important to build connections with employees. Sharing positive feedback to employees and adopting a fun chat channel that connects employees together help to create a long-lasting impact on their work. An informal chitchat among employees, like catch-up over coffee, connects employees. They talk without any pressure and do not think that they are working alone on an island. Making managers available to team members so that they can go above and beyond to discuss anything openly with them builds a healthy relationship and an open-door policy for remote employees. A sense of attachment is always there in an ‘open-door’ policy where remote employees can count on their manager to respond to pressing concerns during their work.
E-mails are easy to ignore. So are instant messages, and Slack DMs. With a phone call, you can get your point across, make sure your tone is not misunderstood and you can put a voice to your name. Especially during remote work, keeping in touch with coworkers on a phone call helps avoid misunderstandings. Spending time on non-work activities with coworkers has been proven to strengthen their working relationships. When it is done in the office, you grab lunch with a coworker, go out for coffee, take a break and chit-chat, or take the team out for a happy hour or team lunch. But during work from home, conducting social activities virtually, etc. is the thing that keeps people connected.
Regular physical meetings can be a great way to build team rapport and foster a sense of community. They allow team members to meet face-to-face, which can strengthen relationships and help build trust. Physical meetings can also be a good opportunity to collaborate on projects, brainstorm ideas, and share resources.
However, virtual team meetings have become increasingly popular in today’s fast-paced and globalized world. They offer a convenient and cost-effective way for teams to connect, regardless of their location. Virtual meetings can also be more efficient, eliminating the need for travel time and expenses. Additionally, virtual meetings can be recorded, making it easier for team members to review important information later.
We are all Zoomed out, but we have found that it is beneficial to keep the culture of the firm even with the remote team, dressing up nicely ensures the team’s participation.
Another way of keeping it fresh, especially for a fully remote team, is to conduct online fun activities and games like tombola, Dumb Charades, ludo, chess, etc. where the winner wins a fabulous gift card.
Colleagues working remotely should research and create together. Most of the valued and embraced ideas come from people brainstorming together and discussing. Ask for ideas and submissions and then ask teams to vote for their favorites when it comes to deciding activities. Every team might have different preferences for fun and connection. These kinds of group discussions can help create a friendly environment of experimentation for fun and can conclude in one decision.
Social media is a tool for your association that can help you find potentially good speakers who can give motivational speeches online or offline. So, to keep the employees engaged, decide which speaker to hire and if their speaking style suits your online event. Before inviting them to the event, try to find their previous videos and speeches on YouTube and other channels. Check their TED Talk videos on YouTube. Other social media platforms like LinkedIn will also be a helpful platform to search for speakers for the virtual event and liaison with them professionally.
One shouldn’t have to be looking over the team’s shoulders while they are in the office. One shouldn’t have to do it while they are working remotely. Regular one-on-one check-ins help managers avoid micromanaging while enabling them to allow them to ensure feedback goes both ways. You need to trust if employees are communicating clearly and meeting goals and deadlines, they are productive and doing their jobs effectively.
While following remote and hybrid work models, companies should look for opportunities to celebrate the successful completion of work being done by team members. Milestones should be celebrated in the office in the form of incentives. At the same time, employees just might have to switch out their high-five for a virtual elbow bump online. The physical reward and recognition that would have taken place at the company’s annual retreat would be replaced by virtual events. The idea is to keep employees motivated and engaged in remote work culture which is helpful in employee retention.