The workplace has been completely revolutionized by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in many having to accept that working from home is the new norm. Businesses now have some or all of their employees working remotely until further notice. While the practice of working from home is not new, the seemingly compulsory shift with little or no transition time has proven to be quite challenging both for companies and their employees.
For many, working from home translates to fewer ways to naturally interact with coworkers, more distraction and more social isolation. All these can help to demotivate employees and result in less productivity. Employers must therefore explore different ways to work with employees to overcome these challenges. Here are a few measures that employers and businesses can put in place to help employees remain motivated.
Encourage and Assist in Developing a Dedicated Home Workspace
Before the pandemic, many office workers did not need a dedicated work area in their homes. However, now that they are working from home regularly, this should be encouraged. To assist with this, businesses could offer stipends to help workers acquire various items to create this space. Having a dedicated work area will reduce the typical distractions that come with an employee’s everyday home life. A temporary space created in the guest room, walk-in closet, attic, or basement will also help employees mentally separate their work from home.
Invest in Apps to Keep the Team Connected
To foster proper communication and give employees a sense of belonging, invest in apps that facilitate project management tracking, video conferencing and instant messaging. These will foster an online community where professional and personal conversations can be had among coworkers. Being connected to the team, employees will feel a sense of belonging and will be motivated to be more productive.
Check-in Daily and Be Available
Once your virtual office is in place, set up a time when you will be available for persons to reach to clarify anything that may be required. Considering that you do not see your employees on a day to day basis face to face, schedule daily meeting times where you check in on an individual basis or meet as a team using the previously mentioned platforms. This will again help the team to feel connected and remain motivated. On the other hand, try not to micromanage your team, calling or messaging every minute to assess their progress, give the work and trust them to get it done.
Facilitate Non-Work Related Conversations
Facilitate colleagues talking amongst themselves about non-work related stuff like hobbies, news, the online roulette games they like to play, just as they would have done in the office. This can be done by allowing the first few minutes before or after a video conference to meet and greet. You could also host a weekly or monthly virtual happy hour where various team-building exercises would be carried out to build the bridges between employees. No drinking would be necessary at these happy hour meetings, just good clean fun.
Give Continuous Feedback
Businesses thrive when employees receive continuous feedback to grow and improve. Having a culture where honest and open feedback is given continuously will help employees be progressive and involved. This can be done through one on one session with the team or individual. Do be mindful of your tone and words used, remain calm and use an understanding tone with the right words to make your feedback constructive.
COVID-19 has led us into unprecedented times with working from home and this can be very challenging. However, by employing a few of the tips mentioned above, you should motivate your team and remain productive.