A guide to establishing trust and genuine employee engagement in a remote workforce
Although lockdown in the UK is slowly lifting most offices will remain closed for the foreseeable future. With global business’s like Twitter and Goggle allowing home working ‘forever’ and large offices not expecting to be at full capacity until 2021 it is crucial to build an engaged remote team.
It is better to overcommunicate than under communicate
Firstly, ensure you have the right tools and that the whole team is clear on how to use them. Microsoft Teams offer a monthly webcast with live, instructor-led training for all users. Whether you chose Teams, Skype, Zoom or one of the many others available, use the platform to hold regular team meetings with the whole team – encouraging communication across the entire team.
It’s so important to regularly check in with your team individually, especially now. We’re living in unprecedented times and every single person has been impacted by the effect of COVID19, a one to one chat will allow your employee to express any concerns they have or issues they’re facing, whether it’s about work or not now is the time to show empathy and build trust with your team.
If pre-lockdown you were against WFH, what were the reasons why?
Many managers worried about losing the ability to physically see what employees are working on, current circumstances have forced many to let go their micro-managing tendencies. Over time it will become clear that your team are able to get their work done without you watching, with weekly catch ups and monthly reporting. Someone in your team might have started 10 minutes late this morning, or taken a slightly longer lunch break to enjoy a walk in the sun. Does it matter? If the results they produce are consistent and at the expected level, it really shouldn’t.
Your short term discomfort will result in long term benefits. According to Harvard Business Review employees who feel trusted by their employer “are higher performers and exert extra effort, going above and beyond role expectations.”
Don’t stop rewarding hard work just because your usual methods are no longer available. If you usually treat your team to a nice lunch, arrange a video call and send out Deliveroo vouchers. If Friday drinks are your go to get a nice bottle of wine sent to your top performer. Get creative and show that you really know your team by sending a small pick me up that you think they will enjoy, it will strengthen your relationship with your employees and there couldn’t be a better time to brighten someone’s day.
Set schedules to ensure work life balance
Working form home encourages a positive work life balance for many, with no commute and more flexibility. However, many are experiencing a lack of boundaries between work time and home time. Without a separate space for work many employees are finding it hard to switch off, if it continues this will lead to a burn out.
Although there isn’t a huge amount that we can do to fill our spare time at the moment there are very clear reasons why we need to take enough of a break from work, even if it is just to binge watch a new Netflix series.
If you notice an employee is consistently sending emails at 10pm or on the weekend, plan a call with them to discuss how you can support them. Whether it’s a gentle reminder that they need to take a break or offering to provide the tools for them to pick up a new skill in lockdown it will surely make a difference.
If you are currently managing a remote team, I would love to hear your thoughts. What is your number one tip for keeping your team engaged from home?