By: Ryan Malone
Original article at https://www.uschamber.com/co/run/human-resources/keeping-remote-employees-engaged
In the weeks since COVID-19 began its rapid spread throughout the United States, more and more companies have made the decision to protect their employees with an emergency work-from-home policy. While remote work was already relatively common in many industries, not every company was prepared for the sudden transition to a fully remote workforce.
Having the right tech tools in place for your now-remote team is essential, but you also need a plan for keeping everyone engaged and focused on their work. Most families are now quarantined in their homes together, so employees are now facing more distractions than there might normally be. On top of that, your team may be feeling anxious about their health and safety, so it's important for employers to be mindful of how those fears may impact productivity in the coming weeks and months.
To help you keep operations running smoothly as you and your team navigate this "new normal," here are some expert insights on how to maintain engagement while you're all working from home.
The key to success as a fully remote team is consistent, transparent communication. This is especially important as the coronavirus situation unfolds and changes. You'll want to ensure that you have multiple ways to reach employees, including chat software and email, and err on the side of overcommunication.
With video conferencing tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts, it's easy to keep your regular meeting schedule. The trick, however, is encouraging everyone to turn on their cameras so you can get that face-to-face focus and much-needed social interaction.
"Make sure you schedule regular meetings with the teams, have everyone connected via video conference so that everyone's prepped and out of their pajamas," said Krol. "Keep it professional."
And don't worry too much about any "background noise" from the family — it actually might be a good thing.
"The kids screaming in the background has been a way for us to bond with each other and with clients, where previously that might have seemed unprofessional on days we worked from home," said Jason Abromaitis.
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