With the second wave and resurgence of COVID-19 seemingly already upon us and populations around the world again facing lockdown, it looks highly likely that homeworking is here to stay.
Over the past few months, many employers had started to welcome personnel back to the workplace but the rise in COVID-19 case numbers has brought a return to fear, and employees everywhere are starting to ask if the benefits of going back to work really outweigh the risks.
Thankfully, the first Coronavirus wave taught us many lessons – not least of which was how to manage staff remotely and keep motivation levels high. Here are just a few ways to maintain morale and enthusiasm in your home-working staff.
Keep up regular communication
While many home-workers reported enjoying the freedom and improved work/life balance granted by working remotely, the most common complaint was a feeling of isolation. For many people, the workplace is their primary channel for social contact and some employees took time to adjust to working alone.
People tend to work better and more productively if they at least feel part of a team striving towards a common goal, so try to maintain regular contact with your remote workers – either by email, phone or video calls. A tactic used by many employers in the first wave of COVID-19, which proved highly successful, was to organize daily meetings via video conferencing, where all staff could communicate freely with one another.
Incentivize your staff with benefits
In life, we all need to feel valued and nowhere is this more apparent than in the workplace. Employees need to know they’re important – that they’re making a difference and that the work they’re doing is appreciated. This becomes all the more crucial in remote-working where it’s harder to reassure your staff how much they’re needed.
Consider incentivizing your staff with extra benefits – the kinds of things that go beyond pay and a pat on the back. While this might seem more challenging with homeworkers, there are new software Employee Benefits packages which staff can log into remotely to pick specific benefits – everything from health and dental care to ‘free’ Uber rides.
Offer emotional support
In these strange times, it’s not enough to just be a boss – you also have to be supportive and be a confidant. No-one is finding COVID-19 easy and letting your staff know they can come to you with their concerns will help them speak openly about any issues they might be having – in particular, issues that may be affecting their work.
By encouraging your workers to open up, you may also benefit indirectly. It’s quite likely the concerns your employees have are similar to your own and through talking together, you’re more likely to find common solutions to shared problems.
Invest in the right software and tools
Back in March, we were told we were entering a New Normal and, while everyone wants Coronavirus to end, it is possible we may be living with the virus for some time yet. If you didn’t already, think seriously about investing in the right software, tools and equipment to let your staff work productively from home. It’s far too early to say with any accuracy but most experts predict we could be looking at sporadic lockdowns into next year. Your team will work far more efficiently and productively if they have the right tools for the job.