Coronavirus Pandemic: Keeping employees happy and engaged!
The rising threat of the Coronavirus pandemic has turned the modern business world into an impending crisis situation. Around the world, the health of individuals and economies has taken a hit, only to transition into new practices and norms. While some organisations have a solid crisis plan in place, most are ill-equipped to deal with such travesty. Without a doubt, Covid-19 is already taking a toll on the physical and mental health of the global workforce.
Until recently, companies around the world had been resistant to the idea of remote work. However, the same companies are now forced to indulge in remote work policies and guidelines. Some of the biggest tech companies, including Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon, have asked employees to work remotely.
While the confirmed number of cases and deaths in the Coronavirus pandemic increase rapidly, employees are getting paranoid. Changing routines and the stress of warnings around the situation can be disruptive in maintaining efficiency and productivity. With the declining morale, there’s a dire need to keep employees happy and engaged, more than ever.
Coronavirus Pandemic: Challenging Times for Remote Workers
It can be difficult and demanding to work remotely. Not all employees are used to or able to manage remote work arrangements. It’s even more difficult for organisations that haven’t embedded remote work in their cultures already. Effective communication is one of the biggest challenges in trying to manage remote workers.
Since team members are often spread across numerous locations, it can be difficult to coordinate work hours to schedule meetings. With confusion, progress can be slowed down, and projects may be delayed. Moreover, remote workers may feel isolated and out of the loop, giving rise to frustration with the management.
It can also be difficult to upskill remote workers. Organisations need to come up with innovative programs to train employees and support professional development. Over two-thirds of remote workers wish to receive more training for professional as well as personal development.
Employees who aren’t used to such arrangements may find themselves procrastinating due to distractions. In order to compensate, these people could work beyond usual business hours, causing burnout. During the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to focus on mental health too. While these challenges remain, there are certain steps organisations can take to resolve issues, and keep employees happy and engaged.
Be Open with Communication
In order to engage and motivate employees, leaders need to take charge and avoid panic. In difficult times, employees look up to their leaders to take the right calls. Hence, it’s important to manage emotions and keep everyone informed. Vendors, contractors, and employees should be updated on the situation on a regular basis. Moreover, the organisation should be open to accepting ideas from different stakeholders.
Relax Certain Policies
School and daycare closings can disrupt the lives of working families to a greater extent. Several families don’t have other options for childcare. In these times, employers need to be empathetic, flexible, and understanding as employees try to navigate these unforeseen circumstances.
While it’s not possible for every business to offer remote work, organisations should consider relaxing certain policies and guidelines. Leaders and management teams need to trust employees when they call in sick or experience symptoms. Keeping everyone in the office safe and healthy should be the highest priority. With open and flexible policies, employees are able to focus on work without judgment.
Provide the Right Set of Tools
As it goes with remote work, you need the right set of tools to organise virtual meetings, conferences, discussions, and presentations. Organisations should start using a wide range of digital solutions to help manage tasks effectively. It also helps in keeping everyone in the loop regarding deadlines and project specifics. Cloud-based platforms, such as Office 365 and G Suite, allow for collaboration and teamwork.
Teams should also start using project management tools, such as Basecamp and Trello. They help keep every team member aligned with the bigger picture regarding the projects. ClickMeeting and Zoom are good for holding virtual meetings, which sync with your official calendar. These tools also support replay recordings and screen sharing.
In case you want to keep a check on productivity, you can use time tracking tools, such as Time Doctor and Toggl. They’re perfect for tracking business hours and time spent on specific projects. This helps promote work-life balance, and allows employees to manage their time in a much better way.
Most importantly, businesses need to set realistic goals and establish flexible guidelines to help employees work remotely. Everyone needs to be informed about specific goals, roadmaps, and targets. While digital solutions help in keeping people connected, things start failing when no one knows what’s expected of them.
Indulge in Remote Lunches & Meetings
Last but not least, you need to keep things light and fun. In order to keep employees engaged, it’s important to indulge in remote lunches and informal meetings. It helps keep everyone’s morale up, and allows you to connect with employees on a humane level. Virtual meetings, coffee breaks, and gatherings can be the right way to take off the stress induced by the Coronavirus pandemic.
While ensuring high productivity, companies need to keep employees safe. Therefore, social distancing is important and needs to be followed religiously. However, it could be a good idea to suggest a coworking space, just in case your employees aren’t used to working from home. It allows them to work from an assigned space, while avoiding distractions and crowds.
Having said that, the most important thing in these times of crisis is to ensure your employees feel valued. After all, their well-being is as important as your organisation’s economic health.