Never underestimate the power of soft skills to advance your leadership influence — and earn you strange local cakes.
Indeed, a number of large businesses have decided that working from home is “the new normal,” with a number of smaller businesses following suit.
More than 60% of companies are now saying that working from home is going to be long-lasting and perhaps even permanent.
Many businesses were forced to send their employees home as the coronavirus started ravaging the country. Now, those businesses see that working from home works, and that a lot of money and resources are being saved in the process.
This is all well and good, but what about the employees?
How can they be engaged, with each other and with the company, if they are all working remotely? And why is employee engagement so important in the first place?
Employee disengagement costs your business money. Employees who are disengaged feel as though they are not appreciated and that their skills are not put to full use. Because of that, they are not interested in seeing the company they work for succeed or in bettering themselves.
On one hand, it is estimated that each disengaged employee costs their employer over $2,000 each year. On the other hand, if you spend just 10% more on engaging your employees, you can increase your profits by over $2,000 per year for each employee — a worthy investment.
Employee engagement helps in numerous other ways as well:
As you can see, there are many reasons to increase employee engagement, even when they’re working remotely.
The first way to engage team members is to make sure they are set up to work from home. If you can help them create a productive workspace, it will help boost morale and will positively affect how much they can achieve. This may include such basics as a desk and comfortable chair.
There are many other things that are considered essential for today’s home office including a computer and monitor, surge protector, and internet access. Supply team members with whatever they require to do their jobs.
In addition to basic equipment and supplies, assist your employees with other intangible things they need to be successful while working from home. Help them understand the importance of staying in contact with their co-workers and supervisors and the necessity of good communication skills during meetings due to the lack of face-to-face interaction.
Encourage employees to take frequent breaks and get out of the home office for some fresh air from time to time.
The next step to employee engagement is to recognize team members and make them feel valued. Employees who are not recognized are not engaged. You can use a recognition platform and give specific, public recognition to them for everyone in the company to see:
Offer recognition regularly and as soon after their actions as possible. In addition, offer some type of reward, not only to the recognized employee but also to others who recognize their co-workers.
Gift cards make good rewards, but a reward does not need to have monetary value. For instance, allowing the recognized employee to leave early on a Friday will suit your purpose just as well.
Lastly, to make employee engagement work, you need to develop a sense of camaraderie among team members, which is a real challenge in a remote working environment.
You can accomplish this by frequently hosting fun, online team building activities. These activities could include such things as virtual happy hours, a racing game that employees can engage in, or funny online quizzes.
Other virtual team building activities include the following:
By employing these light-hearted activities, you can ignite employee engagement, which will make for a more enjoyable and productive environment for all.
Due to coronavirus and since employers are now seeing the benefit, remote work has become the “new normal.” Despite this or maybe because of it, it is more important than ever that employees stay engaged.
You can do this by making sure team members have what they need when it comes to both supplies and support to do their jobs at home, as well as recognition for a job well done.
In addition, incorporate team building activities into the remote work day. Doing these things will help your employees feel more engaged, which will lead to a more productive, lucrative business and more satisfied employees.