Prior to COVID-19, remote work was considered a company perk. Yet, within a few weeks it had become mandatory and viewed as a business disruption. Though it seems inconvenient to some, remote work has become beneficial to our current employee engagement practices. Now that organizations are experiencing a plethora of unknowns, positive workplace morale is vital to keeping businesses afloat.
Due to the pandemic, employees have heightened levels of professional and personal concerns. According to data from studies conducted by Willis Tower Watson and Josh Bersin Academy, the top four areas of concern for workers are financial security, health and wellbeing, family and productivity at work.
Although leaders cannot guarantee good health or job security, making time to keep employees engaged demonstrates that leaders are empathetic to the nuances of working from home. It can also align organizations to become employers of choice by enhancing their organizational brand.
Here are a three ideas that will keep you and your workers engaged along this journey.
- Development Opportunities – Encourage workers to participate in online development opportunities. Whether sessions are provided internally or hosted by outside sources, employees often appreciate opportunities to learn new things. Think outside of the box and consider personal development options, like adding in volunteering or connecting to personal passion. They provide overall balance, and many are of low to no cost to the company.
- Engagement Opportunities – Sessions to measure engagement can be priceless for an organization. Whether you are simply “checking in” for the mental health of your employees, or discussing the project status with your team, be sure to add these meetings to your agenda. They’re helpful when building trust and a sense of worth will be the likely response from these interactions. Here’s a helpful hint: assign team members the responsibility of planning virtual activities. This can get their creative juices flowing, while creating an inclusive work environment.
- Promote Company Benefits – As you can see from the above chart, Personal Health, Family Issues and Work Life Balance are all major concerns for remote workers in our current times. If your organization offers benefits to assist your staff that can alleviate some of these stressors, such as paternity leave, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or work from home stipend, make sure you promote this information often and make access to it easy. Unfortunately, employers often make the mistake of only telling new hires about their benefits and they forget about them soon after they get accustomed to their role. Creating a benefits brochure or posting the information on a bulletin where employees frequently convene.
Leaders who authentically demonstrate care and value for employees create engaging environments and provide a level of relief for those working alongside them. As a result, they experience higher retention, happier employees and a stronger culture.