The current pandemic has fundamentally transformed the workplace. Remote work is no longer a luxury but for many a basic necessity. For some employees, working from home may be business as usual but for many others, it is likely a slightly more stressful adjustment to make.
While working from home may seem appealing at first, it can lose its attraction over time, resulting in disengaged employees. From a human resource perspective, how can you go about engaging all of your employees, including the ones who are across the country or in different time zones? Here are a few key tips to maintaining your workplace culture while your employees are away from the office:
Be Transparent and Patient
Let’s be honest, not everyone has mastered a routine while working remotely. Therefore, it is important to be patient with yourself and your team members as we’re all settling into our new “normal”. There will be distractions such as barking dogs in the background of Zoom conference calls and surprise appearances of kids on your video calls. These things don’t make someone less focused or productive; they make them human and able to operate in a flexible working environment.
Communication is Key
It’s important to set aside time for frequent check-ins, to keep in touch with your team members. These calls should be done via video to emphasize the human element behind our day-to-day work. During these check-ins, you can ask about any challenges or problems team members are facing, answer questions, and stay up to date on any team news.
Encourage your Operations or IT department to send a regularly scheduled internal newsletter, if not already doing so. These updates could include news about tools your organization is using, as well as more causal content to foster engagement.
Take Your Office Culture Online
This can be a difficult thing to do when your entire company is communicating virtually. Here at fusionSpan, we have tons of Slack channels! In our #General channel, we communicate and share important company announcements. We have a #Pets channel, where fur parents share their beloved pets and allow everyone else an opportunity to swoon. Our #Social channel to share work and non-work related topics. Small talk really matters, and chatting about life outside of work keeps us connected, despite being out of the office.
Set Up Your Virtual Water Cooler
Another way to maintain social interactions is to set up a virtual coffee, lunch, or quick ‘water cooler’ moments with colleagues. The Slack application Donut has been a great contributor to keeping our organization connected with weekly meet-ups. Every Friday, Donut will randomly pair employees, providing three different meeting times to link up! The automated pairing allows interdepartmental interaction between staff members who wouldn’t normally meet. After each Donut meet, we take to our #Social channel and share photos, screenshots, or fun facts we learned about our Donut buddies.
Last But Not Least, Happy Hour!
One of the most popular forms of virtual engagement that almost every company across the nation seems to have taken up, are weekly virtual happy hours! Why is that, one may ask? Well, because, we all could really use a drink right now.
Consider holding Happy Hours for both the organization as well as each department. Explore new ideas like trivia, with the winning team awarded a voucher for a local food delivery service. As the idea of virtual happy hours have been quickly adopted, take your organizations meet-ups to the next level with some fun competition!
Your Next Steps
As an Office Manager, it might seem like an overwhelming task to keep employees engaged during this time. Be patient and consider some new approaches for your staff. Remember, we are all in this together!