By Alexis Stiebe
It is likely that your workforce recently made a sudden shift to working from home. This shift brings many new challenges and changes. It has surely brought new challenges to your leadership strategy. What worked in the office may not work from your home. In this article I share some tips for staying connected to your remote workforce.
It is most important to foster strong communication. Without common break areas and easy access to your office, your employees can feel cut-off and adrift from the organization. You can’t communicate too much in these circumstances. Check in with your different departments often to see how things are going. For instance, at Ag 1 Source/Career 1 Source, our administrative group has a weekly meeting where we share our progress on current projects and ask for assistance on those we may need help with. Our CEO can “clear the path” when we need management’s decision or final call on a task.
But once a week isn’t the only time your team should be communicating. It is important to help your team maintain connection. Workers that are used to coming to the office each day can feel lonely and isolated when moved to remote work. Both of these feelings can result in reduced productivity and lack of motivation. Touch base on an individual level and make sure every team member has easy access to other coworkers who they can rely on for assistance and support. There are many tools that can help.
The 21st century is uniquely equipped to help in this challenge. Communication technology allows us to remain connected, in real time, across the globe. There are so many examples of tools that allow instant contact for your organization. Some common examples include Skype, Zoom, Teams, Slack, Google Hangouts, and many more. Find what works best for your team.
You will need to provide additional training to make these tools easy and comfortable to use. Many of these companies have free video tutorials to help beginners get started. Once your team starts using these tools, they’ll see how intuitive they are. For our organization, Teams and Zoom meetings have kept our main office connected to our remote recruiters. Speaking of connection, there is another aspect to every workplace that bonds a team . . .
It’s hard to build and maintain strong company culture when your team is scattered across many locations. Make sure your mission and values are communicated clearly to every member of the organization. You may need to find new ways to show your appreciation for good work. Try some of these ideas:
- Send a quick email congratulating an employee on a job well done.
- Try a weekly trivia question to get the whole group engaged in some friendly competition, or try a virtual, after hours event over Zoom or another platform.
- A Slack “water cooler” thread can be a good place for coworkers to talk about their weekend and share hobbies and family events. These are common topics that would typically be shared in an in-person, break-room setting.
All of these ideas can help your company culture thrive in a remote environment. Utilize all the tools above and you may find that working from home is even a benefit to your organization. Our recruiters have worked out of a home office for years. Contact us to learn more about adding talented employees to your remote workforce.