At the beginning of a new year, most of us feel the urge to look back at the year just gone and find fresh ways to improve ourselves and our lives. But if Dry January isn't your thing (we don't blame you) and if you'd rather stick pins in your eyes than subject yourself to another Joe Wicks workout (again, no judgment here), then we've got a better idea for you.
Why not shift the focus from you to your company? Meaning, why not try to make your company even better? If you don't know how we're going to let you in into a little secret: you've got to start with your employees.
At a time when remote working is on the rise, mostly due to the coronavirus pandemic, keeping your workforce happy, engaged, and productive can be a real pain, to say the least. So, if you are serious about creating a great working environment in which your remote employees can work, learn, and thrive, then you've come to the right place.
In this article, we are going to give you the lowdown on how to achieve this in just ten easy steps that any business owner can put into practice. Keep on reading, and get ready for your best year yet (no crazy diets or fitness routines required)!
1. Make It Easy to Work Remotely
Want your employees to find remote working easy and even vaguely pleasant? Then you've got to make the whole conundrum a lot smoother for them. To begin with, you can help your staff set up a fast and secure remote desktop protocol.
Then, you might want to consider giving them some tips on how to get the most out of their new office space. This can also include advice on how to maintain productivity and keep motivation high whilst working away from the office, which can be extra challenging, especially with loud toddlers running around the house!
Have some cash to splash and want to go the extra mile? Then provide them with some good-quality office supplies and furniture, such as ergonomic chairs, laptops, printers, and more. This will make them feel really valued (and super pampered).
2. Define Regular Goals
Were your employees used to established monthly or quarterly goals, perhaps during team meetings or one-to-one reviews with you? Then you should definitely keep this going even during remote working.
Discussing and deciding what to achieve on a regular basis is amongst the most effective factors that enhance employee engagement. This will make sure that you, as their manager, are fully aware of what the next goals are. It will also allow them to work harder towards those goals and to achieve even greater results.
Isn't this what they call a win-win situation? We think so.
3. Praise Achievements
Anyone who has been working hard and successfully on something, especially if for a long period, expects to receive some sort of recognition, right? Well, this is possibly even more important now that your employees are physically far from the office, as they might end up feeling a bit disconnected from the usual work dynamics.
So, to keep them satisfied and eager to put in even more effort, you'll want to praise their accomplishments whenever they happen. Next time one of your team members closes that all-important deal or nails that crucial marketing campaign, make sure you reach out to them and praise them, both directly and publicly.
4. Keep up Your Usual Staff Meetings
One way to keep your staff engaged and productive is to try and maintain an office routine and environment that closely resembles what they were used to. There's no reason, for example, to cancel your regular staff meetings, whether they used to happen weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
In fact, you'll want to keep them going with even more regularity now. Remember, these might be the only chances for both you and your team to chat with one another, exchange ideas, express concerns, and inspire change. And why not throw in a casual Netflix recommendation or some football banter?
5. Organise Weekly or Monthly (Virtual) Drinks
Were Friday afternoon drinks a thing at your company? Great, then keep those going, albeit virtually. Set aside an hour or so each week to schedule a friendly, informal catch-up with your staff, and call it something fun and easy to remember.
Want to go even further? Online team building games for remote employees are all the rage at the moment, so why not arrange a "pub quiz" or even a virtual "escape room"? You can either organise one yourself or ask one of your employees to do so, or you can use one of the many online tools available.
6. Keep Them Learning
Alright, now that you have recognised your employees' achievements, your weekly team meeting is done and dusted, and your Friday virtual hangouts were (allegedly) a success, you'll want to get back to putting your thinking hat on. What else excites and inspires employees and makes sure that their stick with you in the long run?
You've guessed it: opportunities to grow, get a promotion and secure that pay rise. And how can you help them to achieve all that? By offering the possibility to learn something new, get great at it, and use those newly learned skills to excel at their job.
At iAM Learning, we have an amazing variety of off-the-shelf elearning courses that anyone within your team can use, at any time, to acquire new capabilities. Why not check out what is coming up in the next few months? And if anything tickles your fancy, you can try us out for free for a whole week.
7. Support Your Most Recent Team Additions
As a business owner, you want and need to care about your entire workforce, which means both your old and new staff members. If Mary from Sales, who has been with you for 15 years, seems to have taken to remote working pretty well and is managing to get her stuff done quickly and easily, but perhaps Nick, the 20-something recently graduated junior copywriter, might need a bit more guidance.
Not really in terms of IT-related issues (in fact, chances are that Nick is more tech-savvy than his older counterparts), but more in terms of company dynamics, ethics, and values. Hiring remote employees, in fact, is not just complicated for you as a business owner, but for your new recruits, too.
Whoever was hired just before or even during the pandemic might have never met any or most of their co-workers in person. So, keep this in mind and make sure to create plenty of opportunities for people like Nick to participate in conversations, engage with projects, express their ideas, and exchange knowledge.
8. Show Them You Care About Their Mental Health
Any great manager these days has the health of their employees at the top of their priority list. And when we say "health," we mean both physical and mental wellbeing. And because you are a great manager (right?), you'll want to create a working environment that fosters a positive, open, and judgment-free attitude towards mental health.
A great idea could be offering company-funded mindfulness, meditation, or yoga sessions — online, of course — as well as more knowledge-based opportunities such as online courses in mental wellbeing. This will help build the foundation for a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce, which will benefit each and every one of you.
9. As Well as Their Physical Wellbeing
They say that a sedentary lifestyle kills more than smoking. While it might not be necessarily true, something is for sure: now that your employees work from home, they will almost certainly be moving a lot less. For many people, in fact, the very fact of commuting to the office represented the best (if not the only) opportunity to get some exercise during the day.
So, if you want your staff to benefit from both a healthy mind and a healthy body, show them how much you care by funding online fitness classes, buying some basic home gym equipment, and maybe even launching regular fitness challenges. Trust us — you'll have them all sweating and having a lot of fun in no time.
10. Foster Individual and Team Feedback
Last but not least, you know what's really important to make your employees feel truly valued, listened to, and motivated?
Take another look at all the tips we've dished out so far. They all involve making some pretty huge adjustments to what has been their (and your!) normal way of doing things up to now.
How will you know if any of these activities to engage remote employees have been working well or not if you don't ask for feedback? So, roll your sleeves up, put your pride to one side, and start drafting a survey or questionnaire, or simply send round regular emails asking your employees to let you know their thoughts, doubts, concerns, and suggestions on their new working-from-home life.
Ready to Keep Your Remote Employees Happy?
Our easy-to-follow tips and tricks on how to keep your remote employees motivated and engaged are a no brainer. Are you ready to start creating the best remote working environment ever?
What you'll want to achieve is a sense of established routine, which includes some fun and relaxed moments to share together in an informal setting, as well as opportunities to grow, learn, and stay fit and healthy. Sounds pretty dreamy, right? Well, it's all possible, and it's all in your hands.
Are you interested in finding out more about iAM Learning and what we can do for you and your company? Then try our awesome elearning content for free!