Feeling the pressure of Covid-19 in a workplace? Majority of the companies have to adjust their business structure or completely need to change their primary business activity in order to stay in business and protect their companies from shutting down.

In uncertain times with all the changes happening, businesses cannot afford the luxury of unproductive employees. Having all the changes that are swirling around the Covid-19 are the top of mind for everyone. But in order to stay competitive during the time of uncertainty is to have a focused team of engaged employees, who are there for the long haul. Those businesses that focus on their people will be able to withstand challenges and maximize the opportunities that will arise. As many companies are looking to reduce costs as they enter unknown waters, cutting from the wrong places can be short-sighted and damaging.

In the result of global changes in the workplace, the number of employees who are working remotely has increased since the 2020 health pandemic was announced. The work from home trend won’t be changing for a little while or it will become a new normal for some of the workplaces from now on.

How do you ensure the productivity and engagement of employees who work from home?

According to one study, remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than their office-based counterparts, resulting in more than three additional weeks of work per year. On the other hand, there is so much more destruction while working from home, such as house choirs, children, pets, TV and more.

When the change is happening due to Covid-19 it is so easy to overlook the employee engagement as it is not on top of the mind of the company. However, to make sure the employee’s productivity is not affected by global factors the engagement of employees is needed more than ever before.

Keep in mind that the “employee engagement is about being included fully as a member of the team, focused on clear goals, trusted and empowered, receiving regular and constructive feedback, supported in developing new skills, thanked and recognized for achievement.”- source Engage for Success.

Keeping employees engaged and happy isn’t an easy job but employees who are engaged more will perform better. With all this uncertainty and lack of social life, team morale is as important as it’s ever been, and staying connected as a team while working remotely can help you navigate these difficult times.

Here are 7 tips to consider for your team to keep them engaged while working remotely:

1. Stay social
While people have started settling into some sort of routine of working from home, feelings of isolation are still very real and paying attention to it is essential. It can be more difficult for employees to connect with their co-workers these days. In order to keep them connected.

– Create a group chat (What’s App, Microsoft Teams) where employees can discuss any work and non-work related topics.

– Schedule weekly video calls to provide with up-to-date workflow and plan for the week ahead.

– Establish a lunch routine. Schedule a weekly or bi-weekly lunch with the team either via video call or at the physical location. No work related topics should be discussed during a lunch hour.

2. Remember to Unplug
While staying connected is necessary many employees who are working remotely these days are screen tired. It is important to have a designated take-a-break-from-work area. Advice the employees to schedule their breaks. Just like in the office going to have a coffee break in the lunchroom, this routine is much-needed and should be implemented in the home office. As an option create a lounge space where you can read a magazine or listen to some music while taking a break from the computer.

3. Virtual Group Training

Investing in the team’s personal development comes with a lot of benefits. They become more equipped with tools to be even more productive. This will show that employees are valued, and they will be more dedicated and motivated to accomplish new goals.

4. Team-building Activities

These conversations and work relationships just don’t happen via video conferencing… Friendships are important to establish at work – we all need to feel that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. It is necessary to create the environment for this to happen. The team-building exercises you had while working in the office don’t have to stop.

You need to schedule not only important meetings but also play time with your employees. You can go on Scavenger Hunt, White Water rafting, Painting Night or do a Corporate Yoga Class. Check out some of the Team-building Activities from Epic Experiences.

5. Promote Wellness

Make it a rule and ensure your staff are moving their body and getting plenty of exercise throughout a day. One way to do it is to get outside and fill up the brain and body with oxygen. A great tip is to go for a walk around the block before and after work to mimic your morning and evening commute.

If your job requires a lot of communication try to schedule a phone call (whenever is possible) instead of online video meeting and go for a walk. A 10-15 minute walk will make up for a coffee break and make you feel re-energize for the rest of the work day.

6. Have Fun

Cheers to a long distance happy hour. While ambitious goals and getting your work done is important, you need to have some balance. Remember, like in the old good days going out for a drink on Friday nights with co-workers?Do something fun together by bringing the team together for an end-of-work-week. It can be done virtually or connecting in person as a team, of course keeping in mind the recommended physical distancing. It is very important to take a break from work and connect with each other while doing something fun together.

7. Celebrate Achievements

Last but not the least, remember to acknowledge and appreciate the employee’s hard work. Track team wins, create a quarter goal, make thank you notes, create memorable moments and many more. This small but very needed gesture will pay back the company in the long run. When employees are appreciated and their work is recognized the motivation in the workplace will be getting increased and so is the productivity.

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