As the pandemic continues, more people continue to work from home. The shift to home-based work was quick and profound. According to a recent Gallup poll, almost two-thirds of all workers shifted their work location to their homes because of the coronavirus.
This shift creates a challenge for managers as they strive to oversee and coordinate a workforce that is scattered in different locations. It is a challenge to keep workers connected and engaged. What can managers do to keep employees connected? Here’s how to do it.
- Offer Support and Communication
First, it is essential to make sure they have the support they need. That means giving them the resources they need to do their jobs, providing the necessary hardware and software, for example.In this situation, communication is especially important. Managers need to set clear deadlines and give employees plenty of feedback on their work. Managers should schedule regular times to talk with employees and receive progress reports. Some companies have designated managers to individually handle just remote employees, working with them to make sure they are meeting their goals.
- Host Online Gatherings
Companies are also helping remote workers stay connected through online gatherings. One firm brings its remote workers together regularly by using video calls. The managers encourage employees to take a few hours each week connecting through these calls that are made through digital collaboration instruments like Slack and Google Hangouts. Some companies use the video conferencing platform Zoom to bring employees together.
- Plan Video Calls in Advance
But to make sure these meetings run smoothly, often a little advance work is needed. Sometimes it is hard to get the ball rolling when communicating electronically. Only a few people talk, and there will be more extended periods of silence. At other times, too many people are talking at the same time, and you have a cacophony of voices, with people talking over each other.
- Choose a Group Leader
To take care of these problems, it helps to appoint a group leader who sets the time for the online gathering and guides the conversation. Coming up with some ideas to discuss in advance of the meeting also helps to make conversation a little easier.
At some companies, workers play online video games together to build up a spirit of cooperation. The games are often challenging, encouraging players to plan together and develop strategies.
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