If you’re anything like us, finding the motivation to get out of bed and crawl over to our computers to start working has become increasingly difficult these days.
All the Zoom calls in the world won’t change that we are still feeling disconnected from everyone—especially our coworkers. Gone are the days of quick chats at the coffee maker or after work happy hours. No more in-person meetings or team-building retreats for the foreseeable future. The things we once dreaded now sound like a world of fun, and we really miss the people we were used to seeing 8+ hours a day.
Even those who were already working remote have started to feel the creeping sense of isolation. And isolation, my friends, can be extremely toxic for your business.
We do know that it’s a manager’s job to keep team members feeling valued and engaged. This is no easy task when all of your employees are in different places, but there are several ways to provide a sense of community to your team in this uncertain time. These are just a few ideas we’ve had success with here at DigitalMarketer. Try them out with your team and let us know how it goes!
Keep Team Members in the Loop
One of the best ways to keep your team engaged and motivated is through consistent contact and transparency. Let them know as much information as you can so they continue to feel like an integral part of your team. Implement multiple contact channels including chat, email, video calls, etc. Always have a way to reach people. Right now, there is no such thing as overcommunication. Be a resource for your team, even if you don’t have all the answers.
Have Everyone Turn on Their Video
When you have company or team meetings, use a video conferencing option, and make sure everyone has their cameras turned on. You’ll be shocked at the difference it makes to be able to actually see all of your team members’ faces as opposed to a dark screen with their names on it. Interacting face-to-face, even if it’s virtually, creates some normalcy for people who are used to seeing each other in the office every day. It also serves as a reminder that, though we may not be in the same place, we are still part of a team.
Encourage Team Members to Show Off Their Remote Setups
Working remotely comes naturally to some, but can be a real challenge for others. Encourage your staff to get creative with their home workspace and make it their own (it is in their house, after all). Maybe that means starting a shared Pinterest board or even finding some room in the company budget for new chairs. Then, take turns starting or ending your staff meetings with each employee giving a virtual tour of their workstation—or even their whole house! Pet introductions are also welcome and highly recommended. There’s nothing that boosts morale quite like a furry friend on screen.
Don’t Micromanage, But Don’t Leave Anyone in the Dark
While constant communication is a must, it’s important not to let your check-ins turn into micromanaging. Stress levels are higher than usual and having a boss breathing down your neck (metaphorically) is far from constructive. Give your employees the encouragement they need to do their jobs and offer your advice or mentorship where you see fit, but remember to have grace and a little extra patience. It will go a long way.
Plan Social (Virtual) Activities
In addition to work-related video chats, it’s also a great idea to start regular social meetings. Whether it’s a weekly virtual happy hour, a game night, or even a nostalgic photo contest (of your most embarrassing high school moments—yikes!), your employees are far more likely to be engaged when they feel like they still have their community of coworkers and friends. Some of your team members may not have a social life outside of work and they depend on those interactions to keep themselves sane. So get creative and have fun!
Schedule One-on-Ones/Ask for Feedback
We’ve talked about communicating with your team quite a bit already, but it’s just as important for your team to be communicating with you. Offer them a chance to give their feedback and let you know how they are feeling right now—both in a professional and personal sense. Oftentimes the best way to do this is by scheduling virtual one-on-one meetings so they feel comfortable opening up and sharing their experience working remotely. This will speak volumes about your dedication to your team and their happiness.
Start an Open Forum
Along the same lines of asking for feedback from your team, another great way to keep them engaged is by starting an open forum or community group. This is a place where they can easily communicate with each other about anything at all, whether it’s work-related or a list of shows to watch on Netflix. People like to be part of something big and they shouldn’t lose that motivation or mentality just because they can’t set foot in the office or be around their coworkers. We could all use a helping hand right now even if it’s something as simple as sharing all of the cutest photos of your pets. Actually, can we go ahead and start doing that now? That’d be great, thanks.