Following the advice of government authorities, many companies have decided to allow their employees to continue working from home in light of the recent coronavirus outbreak.
While many employees are accustomed to working from home, for others it is a new experience and one that requires getting used to. If you are an employer who has allowed your workforce to work from home, how do you maintain effective communication and team spirit?
While employees have different needs and expectations of their employer, as seen in The Benefits and Engagement Report, one thing every employee can agree on is the importance of communication.
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Below, we provide 5 tips on how you can communicate with a remote workforce, create unity, maintain productivity and create a good employee experience while working from home.
1. The Right Tools for The Job
First and foremost, ensure that your employees have all the tools they need to do their job. Make sure they have their work computer, mobile phone, possibly an extra screen, but also access to documents. Do an inventory to make sure your team has everything they need to work at home for an extended period.
2. Set Up Chat Channels
If you haven’t already, set up digital chat channels. Think Skype, Microsoft Teams and Slack, for example. Chat channels also create opportunities for collaboration where employees can bounce ideas off one another in real-time. Best yet, many of these means of communication platforms are offered free of charge
3. Kickstart The Day
If possible, start each day with a short video meeting with the entire team where everyone shares what he or she is working on. This helps keep the team spirits high. If you have a large team, it might be a good idea to create smaller groups and create a so-called 'buddy system'. With the latter, employees can check in with their buddy every day.
Whether you are organizing a video call or connecting 'buddies', starting off the day by connecting with your team allows everyone to stay motivated and discuss challenges with each other. For some, this will already be something natural, but for some it may not be, which is why it is important to set up a communication structure.
4. Hold Weekly Check-Ins
Managers and leaders everywhere have needed to rethink the way they manage their teams. FindCourses.co.uk share some valuable tips, including the importance of video calls and meeting agenda.
Schedule a weekly check-in with teams and individual employees to see how things are going. What do they have in store for the day and the rest of the week? What went well and where is help needed? Also be sure to ask for feedback: what can you do better to support your team?
5. Choose the Right Channels
As we share in our e-book The Power of Communication, effective communication increases productivity up to 25%, with employees feeling more engaged in their work and more connected to colleagues. By effective communication, we mean reaching employees where they are and creating personal and relevant communication.
As an employer, it’s also important to be aware of the differences between different generations. While baby boomers, for example, prefer email, chat tools and social media are a smart way to reach and attract Generation Z employees. If you have employees who are not stationed behind a desk, such as blue-collar workers, an employee app is invaluable, enabling you to connect with your workforce with important information quickly via push notification.