Till early February 2020, most organizations considered remote working as an option provided to a small section of the employees on a temporary basis for flexibility and convenience. However, not even the biggest advocates of this trend would have imagined that a significant percentage of the global workforce would be forced to become a part of the world’s biggest work from the home drive. Unfortunately, this situation, which many experts might have considered unimaginable only a couple of months ago, has turned into a harsh reality and that too just within a few weeks. As most organizations have been forced to enable remote working for their employees, with minimal forewarning and preparation, they face the challenges of keeping these members of the workforce engaged and motivated.
Importance of keeping employees engaged
Ensuring proper engagement of remote employees gains even greater significance in a crisis situation like the one being currently faced across the world. Employees tend to feel quite anxious and even fearful during such a crisis. Their concerns are related to their own health and well-being as well as their continued relevance for the business during and after the crisis. Such negative thinking deeply impacts the performance and efficiency of the employees working from home as they feel completely cut-off from their organizations. By taking the necessary steps to boost the engagement of such remote workers, organizations can eliminate their sense of uncertainty and fear related to job security and the future in the organization.
How to keep work from employees engaged?
Ensuring employee engagement can be quite complicated even in the best of times and it becomes even more challenging during a crisis. Here are a few tips and strategies that organizations can implement to keep their remote working employees engaged and motivated in times of crisis.
- Give them the freedom to create their own work schedule
Organizations need to understand the fact that working from home is not the same as working from a dedicated office space. In fact, it is often more difficult for employees working from home to follow the same work schedule at their home as they do in their office. Rather than raising doubts about the commitment and dedication of the employees in such situations, it is advisable for the organizations to allow them to create their own work schedules. This will assure the employees of the complete trust that their organization has on them besides making it easier for them to manage their tasks in a more productive and efficient manner.
- Set up an active employee community
One of the biggest challenges faced by organizations in enhancing the engagement level of their employees who are working from home is to eliminate their sense of isolation. The best way to overcome this problem is by setting up a virtual community where the employees can interact freely and openly share ideas and information with their peers using the remote communication and collaboration tools.. Being a part of such an active community can help improve employee motivation levels and make them feel assured of being an integral part of the organization.
- Keep them well-informed and updated
Another effective strategy to maintain high engagement levels among employees working from home is to keep them informed about key business updates. Organizations should make their managers responsible for passing any such information to the employees in a personalized manner rather than simply updating the same on the company portal. Keeping the employees updated about the latest business developments in a personalized manner assures them of being valued by the organizations and erases their anxieties and fears related to the job security.
- Implement a remote recognition policy for the employees
Recognizing employees during the time of crisis is an effective way to keep them engaged and motivated. Appreciating their effort and contribution of the employees to keep the business functional in these socially, economically, and politically difficult times is essential to boost their morale. Such recognition fills the employees with a sense of pride and ownership in keeping the business running. This gives them a sense of purpose and motivates them to enhance their performance even further.
- Ensure meaningful and realistic goal setting
One important thing that organizations need to understand is that the concept of working from home is quite new for most members of their workforce. Hence they should adopt a meaningful and realistic approach while setting the objectives for these employees. Moreover, the organizations should provide the right guidance and support to maximize employee productivity while they work from home. These initiatives can go a long way in making the employees feel valued and boost their engagement levels.
The sudden changes in work scenarios have left most of the work from home employees confused and unclear, which is why organizations need to implement the right engagement strategies and keep them motivated and productive.