5 Suggestions to Help Employees at Home Connect Throughout the COVID-19 Crisis
by Thomas Hanes on May 22, 2020
The COVID-19 outbreak has prompted entire company structures to change from daily office conditions to entirely working in home offices and online environments. Adapting to operating from home—and creating the move through a global health crisis—has been burdensome for both employers and employees.
As we improve our new routines, employers need to consider how they will help to keep their employees connected online.
Here are our five suggestions for employers to help their new virtual workforce remain engaged:
1. Build Relationships
Typical office conditions accommodate spontaneous instances of relationship building and connections. Nevertheless, when operating remotely, conversations among employees may take on an overly "professional" nature, and it can be challenging to build a sense of community between employees.
There are numerous ways to help build employee-to-employee relationships, which do not need to be by forcing "ice breakers". Perhaps instead, try taking time at the start of each meeting, asking how someone is doing, or talk on the weather outside. Try even to chat about your new social distancing activities! That way, you can build a sense of relationships between employees.
2. Schedule Video Meetings Whenever Possible
Because workers are not able to communicate face-to-face, video is the next best thing!
Video meetings between employees allow for facial clues to be read, building better understanding and conversations. (In fact, it's been determined that approximately 70% of communication is non-verbal?) Video meetings can also encourage employees to share feedback and collaborate immediately. Rather than complicated emails back-and-forth, solutions can be found swiftly and with input from all the stakeholders.
3. Host Video Confrences
Make opportunities for workers to chat, both formally and informally. Weigh in on ideas such as:
Beginning each workday with a "team huddle". It’s an excellent way to do quick check-ins and set the workday mood.
Host video meetings with all staff. Conditions are shifting quickly—Make a point to help keep all your workers informed.
Plan virtual lunch breaks. These "virtual lunches" make for highly informal drop-ins where everyone can chat about what they are currently watching or doing at home.
Establish virtual company traditions. Maybe on Tuesdays, you host a virtual "show & tell" drop-in to let employees get to know each other a little better. Or maybe Friday there's a virtual "Playtime" where staff can introduce their young children at home to meet and play games with the other children in the working community.
You are the one that knows your staff’s culture best—Adapt to what feels best for your company and community.
4. Acknowledge Employee Achievements
While employees work from home, it’s particularly important to acknowledge their achievements. Generally, in the office, your workers were probably getting considerably more feedback from supervisors and peers than they now during the current crisis as they work from home.
Supervisors would be well advised to keep closely connected to their teams, establishing regular check-ins with their staff. Make feedback an essential part of your business's approach during these times.
5. Always Remember, Everyone is Working From Home Under Abnormal Conditions
We are all currently in unprecedented working conditions, and many of your employees are dealing with stressors in their personal life. Typical policies may need to be changed, and exceptions may need to alter. I suggest that we all embrace that age-old axiom that we all need to: Go with the flow.
TLH Benefits Advisors is committed to your company's culture & wellbeing.
Take care and good luck in this trying time, stay healthy and watch for those opportunities!