Who could have imagined that there would come a time where a virus could be such a threat to the entire world, causing everyone to be stuck to their houses with fear and anxiety as to not sure where this could lead us? When almost all aspects of life were uncertain, businesses were no exception to this. The covid-19 led the organizations to the unanticipated launch of experimenting with the work from home concept.
Understanding the Swiftness Of Work From Home
On a positive note, with the outbreak of the pandemic, many organizations have realized that work doesn’t just mean the place of work. And hence, many management began to accept the work from home policy in order to resume their official employment. Rightly said by Ms. Ann Francke, head of Chartered Management Institute – “This is unprecedented. It may change the workplace forever. Everyone will need to embrace a different sort of workplace behavior.”
Thus, with the rise of the pandemic, the way people work and communicate related to work is completely redefined. At one point, the work from home concept was neither an option nor a privilege. Rather it just was a need of the time. Within weeks of the pandemic’s arrival, 88% of organizations started to encourage and require remote working. With the drastic growth of technology, there are various tools and software such as remote work monitoring tools, employee payroll management software, HR software,, project management tool, etc., that have played a major role in making work from home more acceptable.
Employee Engagement During The Time Of Crisis
Despite the sudden shift to working from home, which itself is a big challenge, the greatest among the other challenges was the rise of the question “How to engage the workforce during this time?” As we all know, employee engagement is one of the integral aspects of any organization. The importance of this can be observed in the image below:
Ways To Engage Remote Workforce
Now that we are aware as to employee engagement is something that cannot be overlooked, it’s important that the management develops good strategies to make the engagement of the employees possible despite the distance factor. Considering the present scenario, here are a few tips mentioned that can be used in organizations to ensure employee engagement.
Improve The Overall Communication Strategy
Communication is one of the factors that’’s affected the most when we talk about remote working. The distance between the team members has really made it difficult to coordinate among themselves. But, thanks to the tremendous growth of technology, which has given rise to various tools that are now made available, have strengthened the companies to a more considerable extent with their assistance in remote work monitoring.
It depends on the management of the organization as to what kind of communication strategy and platform do they wish to choose for a smooth flow of communication process. However, the management should understand that the choice is only for what technology they want to implement, and it’s not the choice of the strategy. Coming up with the best suitable communication platform, planning, and a strategy for the same is the need of the hour.
Provide Necessary Equipment Support
While remote working is becoming a new trend and that many organizations are shifting towards it, productivity has been a significant concern. The management should also make sure that the employees are well equipped with the necessary tools related to their work. When this support is provided to the employees, the lack of tools or equipment wouldn’t be a hindrance concerning their productivity.
This act of the organization also helps in creating a better image among the employees on trust and will motivate them to be more responsible. And again, provide your employees with necessary support related to the use of the equipment. Because at times, the workforce isn’t aware of how to handle or use the tools. Hence, the support and assistance regarding this are quite important.
Prioritize Health And Wellness
The key factor that enables employee engagement is the feeling of the employees being cared for by the organization. And many companies have understood this and have made it an important strategy in their organization. Especially during this time of the pandemic crisis, even a short message, a mail, or a call made to the employees regarding their health and their family well-being means a lot to them.
Thus, the small effort made by the organization to show they care for the employees will surely motivate them to contribute their best for the organization. When a short message can work such big wonders, then why not go for it?
Listen To Them And Make Them Feel Valued
Another easy yet very effective way of engaging your employees is to give them a chance to speak and listen to their feedback and suggestions. The organizations that follow this simple method have witnessed drastic changes in their workforce. It is so because when the employees speak and know that their suggestions are valued, they feel a sense of belonging towards the organization.
This again plays a major role in encouraging and motivating your employees much more than what we can expect. Whether as an organization, you want to accept or implement their suggestions is quite irrelevant. What matters the most is how much the employees are valued at the workplace.
Invest In Professional Training And Development
The organization’s investment made for the training and development of the workforce to enhance their professional skills is a crucial factor in engaging them towards your organization. This also acts as a motivating factor and thrives the responsibility of the employees to contribute more from their side since so much effort is taken by the firm on their behalf.
Apart from this, indirectly, the training also develops the productivity of the employees, which has always been the organization’s concern. Especially during times like the pandemic, where there is a vast increase in the use of technological tools and devices, a small effort in making them feel comfortable and acquainted with them will create an immense positive impression on the organization.
Make Recognition A Handy Tool
The scenario wherein only monetary benefits were highly valued is far gone. The majority percentage of today’s workforce are Millennials. And their wants and requirements are very different from what was before. Appreciation and recognition in the midst of the other colleagues play a major role as a motivating factor for them.
Despite your workforce being separated and scattered because of the distance, you can still encourage and engage them with the methods of constantly identifying, recognizing, and appreciating even their smallest achievement. Thus, it helps them build their confidence level and engage more in their work.
Shifting The Focus From “When” To “What” Is Produced?
The organizations generally set targets for their employees and see to it that they are achieved. But then, the worry arises when these targets are not achieved according to the expected time. Therefore, when the employees are working from home, the shift of focus from the “when” aspect of the production to “what” is a need of the time.
It’s because a study on remote working says that there’s an immense increase in productivity with the employees working from home. If remote working can give this outcome, then why worry? What matters the most is the quality of the work. However, there could be specific targets that you do not have an option to postpone. In that case, be transparent and explain the situation to the employees.moni
Remember, not always does the strictness of achieving the target work with employees. At times it may result in an increased number of employee turnover. Thus, try to engage with your workforce by creating a friendly employer-employee relationship that might help you in increased employee retention.
Encourage Positive Competition
If the organization could develop a healthy competitive environment among the employees in regard to their work, it definitely would help them in building a professional relationship with their co-workers. Apart from this, the concern related to productivity will also be solved as each one tries to accomplish the targets on time. The competitiveness contributes towards the efficiency and the effectiveness of the workforce.
However, the responsibility of the organization is to make sure that the accomplished targets are accurate and as desired. This enables the employees to take proper consideration while working as to not just focus on the completion of tasks but also the accuracy of the work done.
Set Up Extra-Curricular Activities
As much as all the tips mentioned above are important in engaging the employees towards your organization, making it possible for them to be engaged with the colleagues unofficially is also very essential. The time spent with the teammates apart from the official tasks is considered as crucial in some organizations. Because it helps you understand the employee much better to build up a good relationship on the professional front.
The activities apart from the official tasks may include virtual lunch or tea time if possible, virtual chat meetings, feedback sessions, etc. Organizing such activities at least once in two weeks might contribute to employee engagement immensely.
As mentioned earlier, to make the employees feel they belonged to the organization is very essential. Thus, the management needs to be transparent towards the employees. In the first place, they are separated by distance, and we are all aware of it. Why to add more to this distancing by letting them assume things on their own and increase the gap even more?
Instead, look at ways possible to reduce this gap between the organization and employees that the circumstance has created. And whenever possible, try to be engaged with them and be transparent in the organizations and make it a positive approach despite the lockdown. If not, you might end up dealing with dissatisfied employees who will turn out to be a great loss for the organization.
The work from home practices was adopted as the most viable as well as a responsible way of dealing with the pandemic in order to curtail the spread. However, businesses cannot afford to lose out on what is inevitable. The strategy formation alone will take us nowhere, but then the awareness of the same to the employees and proper implementation regarding employee engagement is quite necessary. Because engaged employees are the organization’s great asset. And I don’t think any business would want to risk losing such assets.
Divyang Metaliya is a Business Consultant. Apart from managing and improving business processes, his hobby is to spread his vast area of knowledge to the people out there. He loves to create content that is innovative and engaging for the readers.