Keeping staff connected and engaged in a hybrid working model One of the biggest changes to come out of the pandemic has been the mass adoption of hybrid and remote working practices. With employees embracing the flexibility of changed working practices, it's likely that remote and hybrid workplace policies will continue to be used into the future.
As people continue to work outside of offices, business leaders must find ways to help their teams stay connected, engaged, and as productive as possible. Everyone’s situation is different so it’s important to be mindful of what your employees might be going through outside of the in-person or home office.
Here are some tips to keep your staff connected and engaged while embracing flexible working practices:
Communicate and connect We all know that communication is key, especially when working remotely. Embracing video communication and collaborative technologies will continue to help workplaces stay connected regardless of location. However, deploying new technologies isn’t the only step organisations should take. It’s crucial that business leaders also focus on:
- Clear communication: honest and open communication across teams will make a big difference when it comes to creating connections with employees, particularly in a continued virtual business world. It’s essential you keep the lines of communication open when staff are splitting their time across home and in-person offices and keep all staff up to date on the status of accounts. That transparency will also help to maintain employees’ engagement with the business.
- Connection: even if you’re not in the same workspace, it doesn’t mean that everyone should work in isolation. Make sure you have regular, daily, or weekly phone or video meetings, ask managers to check in with team members, and encourage virtual coffees to keep some of the office banter going for employees working remotely.
- Training: working remotely can lead to increased productivity for some team members when there are fewer office distractions, giving them more time to engage with additional training to upskill. Encourage staff to sign up for online courses that will hone their skills when they have available time. There are lots of different options such as LinkedIn Learning, or even Coursera and EdX, which offer courses from renowned universities and institutions around the globe.
A good home-office set-up One of the biggest lessons workers have learned from working remotely is the value of a dedicated home office set up. For hybrid workers especially, it’s important to ensure a level of consistency between workspaces to ensure a seamless transition from in-person to home offices. The two biggest investments you can make to help employees are:
- Technology: one of the biggest barriers to working from home productively is poor technology or infrastructure. Make sure your staff are fully equipped and set-up to work from home and that they can access the same files and networks as in the office.
- Ergonomics: make sure your employees have a good set-up for their home office, including proper office furniture such as a desk and chair to help reduce the physical strain caused by poor quality workspaces.
Health and wellness Working from home can be isolating, especially when some workers’ colleagues may have returned to the office and there may be an element of socialisation missing for hybrid or remote workers. It’s important to give your employees the support they need to stay physically and mentally healthy, such as: Empathy: working remotely can be stressful for some people, especially if they have external factors at play outside of the office. Letting your staff know that you understand how they may feel and offering a listening ear is important. Support: check in regularly with remote workers to understand how employees are feeling and whether they need any additional support, particularly if they are experiencing feelings of isolation or stress. Share information about your employee assistance program (EAP), so you can coordinate support for employees that might need it. Mindful breaks and staying active: it can be easy for home office employees to stay at their desk for the entire working day without taking a break from their computer. Working from home means you don’t need to sit behind a desk from nine to five; encourage employees to take breaks during the day. Going for a short walk during the day, stretching, yoga, or meditation are great ways to stop for a moment and reset. It will also enhance overall productivity.
While office work may be returning to its new normal, flexible working will likely be part of the new workplace. It’s important that you can help keep employees engaged and connected with their colleagues regardless of their location, as well as investing in their physical and mental health and wellbeing.
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