The pandemic has changed the way we do business, from transforming our buying decisions to shifting where we worked every day. Organizations that once debated the option of work from home (WFH) were compelled into making this a priority. Keeping your employees happy amid COVID-19 is essential to continue growth for your business and get results, even when companies are struggling. I went back in time and was able to classify the below 8 things our teams did to keep our employees happy, encouraged and comfortable while working from home but not losing focus on getting the job done.
- Communication: One of the biggest challenges in managing remote workers is ensuring effective and efficient communication. I think to at least begin with we should communicate expectations, news about happenings across functions, progress of the company, etc. Communicating effectively with a remote employee, or a team, doesn’t have to be difficult, you simply need to think smart about the most effective way to talk to them.
- Outcomes: We need to stay focused on meeting targets, expectations and deadlines. That is not a compromise so don’t take your eyes off the ball. During this period, trust and commitment was very important. Trust from the leaders for employees and commitment from every employee to put in their best.
- Change in messaging: Any teams interacting with vendors, partners and customers will face an immediate change in the tone or script. The response to what you were selling, the monies you were collecting and priorities with your partners have all changed. The leader needs to work with teams to understand how they will convert this situation into a positive opportunity and adapt. There should be a strong story and a reason behind why the customers need your product or service at this point.
- Strategy map: How has your company progressed? What are the pillars that could hold the company together? Being focused on setting goals and linking the work each one does to a larger impact while keeping in mind the objectives of the company is important. With WFH and the current situation, the employees should also know how they fit into the larger puzzle and why the job they do matters the most.
- Feel at home: It is fine to have distractions at home. Since you have additional responsibilities especially with limited house help, schools being shut, taking care of the elderly, etc. You need to ensure everyone is comfortable and at the same time understand that this is the way of life now. In times like these, it’s fine to work at flexible hours to complete commitments.
- Uplift and Engage: When the going gets tough, the employees are working virtually and uncertainties come to the forefront, you need to encourage your team a lot more. Leverage social recognition to keep the cost low, and yet enable sharing success stories and positive vibes to keep the moral high. Use technology like Zoom, Teams and others to do weekly Town Halls or Team Tea sessions and share stories and progress on various activities.
- Personal Development: It's the right time for employees to learn what they have always wanted to and the right time for leaders to facilitate the same. This time saved from all the travelling should be used to learn and invest in self-development. Many companies have invested in e-learning platforms where employees can learn new skills.
- Encourage Health and Wellness: Ensuring that your employees stay motivated at work depends a lot on their physical and mental wellbeing. During the pandemic, keeping up with good health has become a matter of utmost importance. Since employees have been staying indoors for a long period, it has impacted their mental and physical health to some extent. Encourage exercise and workout time for employees or plan on doing some online workout sessions together as a team.
As we learn, we will keep building our own case studies to prove what worked for us and what did not. If we want to deal with this situation in a responsible way, we must learn to adopt and adapt to good WFH practices. Technology and good digital measures make WFH seamless and productive. If you don’t come out of this lockdown with a new skill, experience that matters and better health, we can say that we never lacked time, but we lacked discipline. We should use these measures to achieve success, learn together and emerge much stronger. After all we are all in this together.