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The COVID-19 pandemic had many strange and unforeseen effects on society. With governments worldwide instituting stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the virus, people across the globe had to adapt how they lived. One of these adaptations was working remotely, as non-essential workers couldn't go into their workplaces.
Companies in every sector had to adjust to this new way of working. Some business leaders anticipated that working from home would lead to decreased productivity but, in many cases, remote work had the opposite outcome. Efficiency and output increased and employers found that remote working was beneficial in other respects, such as decreased rental and a lessened need for office supplies.
Consequently, remote work has stayed the norm for many businesses, as its pros outweigh the cons. However, there's a concern about maintaining company culture in a working model wherein workers don't see and interact with one another face-to-face. So, how can you sustain employee engagement and positive relations when your staff isn't physically around each other? Here are a few tips and tricks:
Visible mistrust is a surefire way for employees to become disengaged and uninterested in their company beyond meeting deadlines, whether they're in the office or not. As an employer, you need to take care not to micromanage your workforce. Naturally, you will be concerned about team members doing their work when you're not physically present to supervise them. However, you need to give employees guidance and motivation, rather than obsessively and constantly checking in with them.
Offering your employees the resources they need to do their work effectively is crucial in any working model, but especially so when it comes to remote work. Some workers may find it difficult to manage themselves without the structure of an office, and others may feel anxious about workloads or juggling their professional and personal responsibilities. It's important to make it clear to your staff that you have policies and technologies in place to help them with whatever might be challenging for them.
Keeping your workers in the dark is a one-way ticket to misunderstandings, delayed or poor quality work and possibly even conflict. It's essential to hold methodical and systematic meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page about their individual work and what's happening in the company at large. So, you should conduct one-on-one check-ins (once a week will suffice) with each worker, as well as company-wide meetings. The latter can be less frequent, perhaps once a month or even quarterly.
Disregard for employee health and safety is a key component of a toxic work environment, which you'll obviously want to avoid. Apart from offering support programs, you should make certain that every worker has sick leave and paid time off to give them the opportunity to take a break and look after themselves. This will improve their work-life balance, too, which is vital for preventing burnout. When an employee knows that you care about their welfare, they're more likely to be invested in their organization.