Keeping Your Workforce In The Game When They Work Out Of The Office
When so much of teamwork involves a team actually working together, it can be an imposing challenge to keep a remote team engaged in their tech jobs. It is much easier for tech workers to stay motivated, encouraged, inspired, and productive when they spend their work hours surrounded by people who are all pulling together towards a common goal. But when colleagues are miles apart, communicate intermittently, and miss out on the day-to-day, face-to-face interactions that create connection and camaraderie, it takes leadership, planning, and effort to keep a remote team engaged.
Here are four tips to help managers and leaders encourage tech worker engagement when working from home.
Ease Up On The Zoom Meetings
Companies often turn to Zoom and similar video conferencing platforms to communicate, hold meetings or host virtual happy hours in their efforts to replicate real-life employee interaction.
But over time, many high tech workers begin to experience “Zoom fatigue.” According to Monster, 69 percent of employees reported experiencing burnout while working from home, and a lot of that burnout was due to too many virtual get-togethers. Rather than encouraging engagement, endless virtual meetings can make employees dread the next invitation that summons them to yet another hour of tedium.
Reconsider how, why, and when you turn to Zoom meetings when other communication methods may be just as effective. For example, Slack is an excellent tool that can keep a team connected. If meetings or presentations are a must, try to keep them as short as possible. A recent Prezi/Harris survey recommends keeping Zoom meetings to an average length of 18 minutes as an effective way to keep remote teams engaged and not distracted. Also, consider “asynchronous” meetings that employees can tune into when it suits them.
Create A Culture Of Connection
Tech workers, like almost everyone, feed off the energy of those around them. When no one’s around, that energy may not be either. But a team’s spirit comes from more than just working together on a project or getting their paycheck from the same company.
A team’s engagement and cohesion are products of their connection as human beings.
While emails, Slack messages, or Zoom meetings may be no substitute for real, in-person, three-dimensional interaction, companies can take steps to create a culture of connection for employees who don’t get to hang out in the breakroom or grab drinks after work.
Employers can create a sense of community among remote colleagues by encouraging them to share and discuss what’s going on in their lives other than their jobs. Establish safe spaces for them to discuss their families, plans for the weekend, small victories, or shared experiences. Offer encouragement and support and make it clear that you care about them as people, not just as employees. And never underestimate the power of appreciation. Making sure your employees know that you are aware of their accomplishments and contributions goes a long way to keeping employees engaged.
Bring Out Their Competitive Spirit
Most people love a little competition, and everyone loves winning. Harness your workforce’s competitive spirit by arranging virtual games and challenges.
For instance, trivia contents are easy to set up using Zoom, Slack or similar platforms. Some professional trivia companies that usually host pub trivia contests also offer the same thing virtually for businesses. Colleagues can compete individually or in teams. A quick google search for “remote trivia company” delivers a plethora of websites to choose from that will fit your company culture.
Wellness challenges have also proven to be an effective strategy for encouraging healthy habits and engaging employees in healthy competition.
Keep Your Remote Team Engaged By Asking Them What They Need
Effective communication is not a one-way street. While it is critical that companies keep their workforce informed about what’s going on, it is equally important that employees keep their employers abreast of their concerns or needs.
Ask your tech employees for feedback on just about anything and everything, and make it clear that there are no stupid questions or wrong answers. When workers know that their employer is truly listening to them – and acting in response to what they say – they will be more loyal, committed, and engaged in their jobs.
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