Enabling Productive Remote Work: Expert Tips For Staying Connected And Engaged During COVID-19
Telecommuting workers during COVID-19 is a stress-filled experience that challenges many employees to stay focused and engaged. Managers should encourage company-wide communications and respond to problems with appropriate action plans, including tips for enhanced performance.
With more and more employees being ordered to stay home to work, companies are facing a major new challenge: How to keep those workers fully engaged and productive.
Mandatory telecommuting is being implemented as a precaution against the spread of the Corona Virus, or COVID 19. But the new policy may also leave many home-bound workers prone to isolation and distraction, leading to reduced productivity, labor experts fear.
Many telecommuting workers also have families with young children who are staying home due to school closures. Their parents must set aside time to prepare and implement lesson plans, all the while staying focused on their jobs.
For many workers, already concerned about the threat from the virus, their home life threatens to become a stress-filled nightmare.
HR managers have a special role to play in keeping their workers happy and focused under these conditions. Some tips to consider:
• Issue formal guidelines and protocols for telecommuting.
• Ideally, employees should have a dedicated space at home to work free from obvious distraction.
• Try to maintain as much “normalcy” in the work schedule as possible.
• Employees should be encouraged to maintain ongoing communications with fellow employees. A loss of worksite interaction can leave workers feeling isolated and overwhelmed.
• Managers should communicate directly with their employees by email or phone to troubleshoot any problems employees are encountering in their newfound telecommuting role.
• Encourage workers to take regular breaks as needed and to stay healthy with food, drink and exercise.
• Keep employees updated on the status of the Corona Virus, offering tips for keeping their family healthy and safe while working at home.
HR managers have various tools available to boost employee engagement even when employees are working off site. An employee communication app and an employee engagement app can send vital messages to employees keeping them energized and motivated.
Every week HR should utilize an employee satisfaction app to formally assess how workers are responding to mandatory telecommuting. The results should be analyzed to create action plans for different groups of workers.
Remember: Only a relatively small percentage of workers (about 5%) choose to telecommute full-time. Many workers prefer to work in an office setting. For most workers, sudden mandatory telecommuting is a dislocating and disorienting experience HR managers should expect a difficult transition period for some workers, especially those with families.
Encourage all of your workers with positive messages. Show appreciation for their willingness to adjust to circumstances beyond their control. Together, your workforce will get through this crisis and emerge stronger than ever.