If the pandemic has taught the world anything, it is that more of our daily lives can be conducted in a remote ecosystem than previously thought. Whether pre-pandemic hesitancy to shift more services and work environments came from cultural preferences or infrastructure issues, companies worldwide had to make a quick shift to remote delivery of services and work environments to accommodate customers, clients, and employees.
And as we emerge into a post-pandemic world, the office landscape has changed, along with employee expectations. Before the pandemic, many team members were told their jobs couldn’t be done remotely, or employers discouraged remote work. With the pandemic proving that many jobs could be done remotely, as employees transition back to offices, their expectations for more flexibility and remote work considerations are growing. Employers must be strategic about their responses, as more and more top talent may expect to have remote work built into their employment contracts.
One of the greatest concerns employers may have about remote work is employee culture and engagement. While the work may be getting done, how do you build connections between your team if some of them are never in the office or on schedules that allow for only a part-time presence in the office?
Perhaps the most critical key to remote employee engagement is communication. Setting clear communication expectations can help your team stay connected to your organisation, you, and each other. As a supervisor, communicating regularly with your team through various channels is essential, including virtual meetings, phone calls, and email. A consistent weekly communication schedule can ensure employees stay on task and feel connected.
Short, informal check-ins, whether that’s popping into an employee’s office when they’re on-site or asking for a quick Zoom chat, can also be beneficial, allowing for well-being checks. Establishing an open door or open virtual access policy with your team can be a great way to build rapport both in person and virtually and can serve as a water-cooler type conversation, which helps build trust and camaraderie.
Additional strategies to build connections can include providing your team with a wide variety of resources and tools to boost their productivity, sharing success stories, and ensuring that your promotion plans do not exclude remote workers.
As we head into a post-pandemic world, clearly establishing remote work policies will be crucial. And for those companies that embrace a more remote work environment, having a highly engaged and invested workforce is possible with the proper planning and tools.