You may have been one of many managers who had to resort to ushering your office workers into becoming a set of online professionals due to restrictions bought about by the pandemic. If you were used to weekly meetings in the boardroom or rubbing elbows with your colleagues in the office pantry, those were realities you had to shelve first and face the fact that, for now, you are managing a remote team. The situation may have brought trials and tribulations, but it all worked out for the better.
But now, it looks like you’ll have to be used to your remote team for longer. Many corporations opt for a full or partial work-from-home arrangement, and your company could be next in line. While deliverables and productivity can easily be measured digitally, supervisors and managers like you can’t monitor your team’s morale and engagement levels. Instead, you can easily approach them and ask about their day or even just peep at them while they do work.
Let go of this worry, for it’s still possible for you to be as encouraging as possible, even if you and your team can only interact through Zoom calls or emails. With ingenuity on your end, you can still paint a smile on your employees’ faces, even from a distance.
Maintain connections through frequent chances to talk to them.
In a survey conducted by Microsoft between January and February this year among 31,102 workers, 52 percent are considering opting for a remote or hybrid working arrangement, as many institutions are announcing requirements to return to the office. These numbers may be detrimental to building rapport with your team, as it’s hard to create a connection when interactions are veiled by the anonymity caused by technology.
The usual weekly team meetings may already be boring to some, even in an online form. Also, random messages or “how are you” from one’s boss may come off as either cryptic or awkward. Approach your team members using these suggestions instead:
- Do accountability meetings. One way to engage teams remotely but still keep it light is through accountability meetings. An accountability meeting helps emphasize people’s responsibilities to the company and each other. It’s a great way to build a culture of accountability and trust between managers and their team.
The highlight of these weekly or monthly meetings is laying down previously set goals and evaluating how they were either met or not. But instead of focusing on how the employee failed, the spotlight would be on the manager, who then reflects on what they could have done. Of course, these meetings are not merely to reflect on mistakes but also to celebrate milestones. This is a good time to praise workers who show stellar commitment.
In these video calls, the manager can also get to know the employee better. Start the meeting by discussing less serious yet heartfelt topics, like what the employees did to spend their vacation leave or what they do after work hours. Although accountability meetings sound serious, this is a good way for supervisors and workers to connect.
- Open the floor for work-from-home concerns. Buffer’s 2021 State of Remote Work revealed many concerns with doing office work in a remote setting. While the top concerns were communication difficulties and feelings of loneliness, both at 20 percent, other noteworthy findings were fewer opportunities to unplug distractions at home and stay motivate
One way to build team morale remotely is to discuss how the team copes with the work-from-home setup. It’s not enough for managers to know them. Employees should be given time to expound on how these concerns affect everyday functions within the remote workplace. This is also a good opportunity for team members to share “best practices” in coping with the remote setup.
While the topic of such meetings may be about struggle, at least workers know that they are not alone in their struggle. How about allotting a one-hour meeting to air concerns about working from home? Your team will appreciate even just the platform to speak about it.
- Give time for company news updates. It’s easy to catch a whiff of company news when you’re in the office kitchen to get your fill of brewed coffee or enjoy lunch with your office buddies at the nearest fast-food restaurant. But opportunities for chitchat are gone, and trying to do it online seems impersonal. But this should not stop you from keeping everyone informed.
Make sure to talk about company news, not just through a little email blast with no personal touch. Employees who receive news, especially in spoken form, can ask questions about it and discuss it with the team openly.
By making this announcement of company developments, you’ll make employees feel they are part of the community. It’s also helpful for them to see that the company is transparent about what’s happening and that managers are taking the time to tell everyone firsthand.
Up the positivity factor even if everyone’s just online.
The lack of physical presence shouldn’t hinder employees from having fun with the community. A few employee engagement ideas for remote teams involve other ways to make them feel great about their work and use whatever resources are available to still celebrate teamwork in an online setting.
- Create an employee recognition program. May it be finishing a project or reaching a significant company milestone, these are news worth celebrating company-wide. Managers can start meetings by sending their congratulations to team members who garnered achievements with the work they do. It would be such a great idea if bonuses or company gifts were given to these achievers, not only to boost their morale but also to inspire others to do their best.
- Make team-building activities more frequent. The thing with team-building activities is that once a year is enough because everyone in the company can rub shoulders and enjoy each other’s company daily in the office. Now that the team is working remotely, you might have to conduct mini-team building sessions, perhaps weekly, so that workers do not only feel included in the team but also have fun in the process.
You can use various online tools and websites to facilitate games for everyone to enjoy. Try checking out Brightful at brightful.me, an online collection of ready-made online games that your team can engage in while in a Zoom meeting. There are also other online platforms like Drawasaurus and Kahoot that you can employ to host friendly competitions.
Are there team members who aren’t tech-savvy? Classic games like Charades and Pictionary can still be opted for. Whatever games these may be, workers will appreciate the effort in getting them engaged through fun and camaraderie.
Build engagement and morale through Davis Companies.
Creating lasting relationships with your employees may sound like a struggle, especially in a remote setting, but if there’s one staffing partner who knows this is possible, it’s us. We are committed to the continuous improvement of our clients and the staff we hire, and we do it by engaging them to be the best versions of themselves. Davis Companies is committed to raising the bar with operational excellence, and we do this by encouraging people to be at their best.
We challenge ourselves to be more than we are, and in the process, we eliminate obstacles to our success. This is the Davis way, and we wish to help you through it in managing your remote team. Contact us today.