COVID-19: Stay connected to your remote workforce

For many workers, their kitchen table is now their desk, and kids and pets commonly make appearances in meetings. Work from home is the new reality, and managers have to make sure employees feel connected and engaged to their work. We all know video is a lifesaver, but it isn’t the only factor in a successful telecommuting environment. 

What should be your top priority in managing a remote workforce? 
Increase communication at all levels for work-related activities and to maintain employee satisfaction. 

Focus on a top-down approach 
Company leadership sets the tone for success – especially with a remote workforce. Take ownership of what information you’re able to provide for your team, and proactively share updates on major projects or business-wide initiatives to establish transparency and normalcy. Some of your team might suddenly have transitioned to work-from-home, and they might be used to hearing about company happenings through team lunches or hallway conversations. From agendas with designated speakers to quicker, more frequent check-in meetings, these are opportunities to streamline processes and create cohesion across teams. 

Set clear goals and check-in on progress 
Keep your team high-functioning by providing strong direction and deadlines, then letting them get to work. Allow time for workers to complete tasks, ask questions and troubleshoot issues, and check-in periodically to offer support. Some employees might not be used to working remotely, or are having new issues solving problems and finishing projects in this new environment.  

Setup time just to hang out 
Lunches and happy hours shouldn’t get left behind in a work-from-home world. Periodic breaks and down time allow for employees to connect as real people and defines a positive company culture. Maybe it’s Wine Down Wednesday or Water Cooler Chat – just find an activity your team enjoys, and utilize video and conference call tools to prioritize personal connection. 

Create an internal social media network 
Bring employees together in a fun way that feels familiar and intuitive. Dedicated platforms allow you to establish your own company network, or use existing websites like Facebook to create private groups. Your team can easily post pictures and comments of their everyday work-from-home life, making it easy for everyone to like and share content in ways they’re used to doing it. Hashtags, notifications and emails can keep everyone connected, while contributing to and maintaining your company culture. 

Use chat functions like Slack and Teams 
Quick drive-by meetings, coffee catch-ups and other daily interactions with coworkers keep everyone engaged and productive. Chat tools such as Slack or Microsoft Teams can promote the same level of collaboration and foster a sense of shared space by providing opportunities for casual, personal conversations. Your team can gather, share and bond together without having to be physically present. 


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