As the current crisis continues, many businesses are wondering how they can maintain a remote work environment that allows employees to feel supported. While there’s no magic formula for companies to follow, there are still plenty of ways businesses can put their people first. Whether you own a small start-up or have a larger employee base, evaluate the examples below the next time you’re looking for the best ways to support your workforce across the board.
Human interaction within a company is crucial for employees to feel connected to each other and to management. Take some time to analyze the day to day meetings that have been occurring throughout this period of remote work. Do these meetings offer time for employees to share about themselves and their personal lives? Is there still time allotted for social pleasantries? It’s easy to get wrapped up in current projects and tasks and then forget about the interactions that may have been taken for granted in a traditional office setting.
Now is the time to set up virtual happy hours at the end of the week, or to set aside a few minutes at the beginning of each day to catch up with colleagues on a personal level. If many meetings don’t currently require video conferencing to be turned on, try experimenting with a change to this policy. As easy as it may be to discuss business items over audio calls, your employees will likely benefit from seeing everyone on their team face-to-face.
Now more than ever before is the time to show some leniency with your workforce. Merging office hours with personal time at home is a difficult transition for those who have never done so in the past. Beyond this, with schools remaining closed, many employees now also have to manage child care on top of work. If you’re finding productivity to be down in some areas, opt for patience instead of pressure to produce. Meet your employees where they’re at and assess how you may be able to help them as they continue to juggle this transition.
Offer Help for Outside Stressors
Offering help and resources to employees can go a long way when it comes to making them feel supported. As mental health needs begin to spike during the current crisis, it’s never a bad idea to look into what benefits you may be able to offer your employees or co-workers. Many telemedicine sites are offering discounts and free trials during this time in order to help individuals make mental health a priority.
Apart from offering new medical benefits, another great way to support your workforce is by providing them with useful resources depending on their circumstances. Take the time to compile a document or webpage for internal use that lists beneficial tools that every individual can access. As the upcoming months become more stressful for families, especially growing ones, consider offering resources for employees who may have kids or for those who have possibly had to relocate during this time. From articles that provide tips on managing remote work with kids to FHA loan information for first-time home buyers at the company, having a space for everyone to share such topics will promote company-wide respect and appreciation. Offering resources that directly relate to what your current company members are going through will show employees that you value both their personal and professional lives.
Survey the Team
If you’re still unsure of what your employees might actually find useful as they navigate remote work, consider conducting some employee engagement surveys to better understand their needs. Do they feel supported already? Is there anything they might need that they left behind at the office? Making sure your workforce has the space and equipment they require to feel productive will better set them up for success. It might even be a good idea to discuss which hours of the day most employees feel productive, and which times they find their mind to be wandering off. If there is a common time everyone feels they lack productivity, consider making work hours more flexible, or planning meetings at these times in order to touch base and re-focus.
Lastly, practicing reassurance is perhaps the most effective way to help employees feel supported. As unemployment grows, it’s only natural for those who are still employed to feel anxious in their position; even though they may have nothing to worry about. Consider being as transparent as possible with your workforce about the state of the business and convey what each and every employee means to the company as a whole. While transparency may be daunting, there are strategic ways to be honest with everyone while still keeping sensitive information private. If you have yet to develop a statement of reassurance to your employees, it’s better to do so sooner than later in order for them to feel supported moving forward.