Maintaining Morale with a Remote Workforce

There has been a monumental shift in the past month on how companies conduct business. Brick-and-mortars have closed their doors and opened virtually. Traditional businesses are trading in the suit and tie for home offices and video conferencing. Whether your organization was ready or not, this global pandemic has forced the workplace to adapt, for better or for worse. And while many leaders are learning on the fly, there’s one aspect of managing a remote workforce that can be particularly challenging: maintaining morale. Check out these three tips to keep your team’s spirits up!

Maintain Communication

Before employees began working from home, communicating with your team was as easy as taking a few steps to their desks to check in. Today, however, it is too easy to go an entire day without speaking to a team member. Now that your office is remote, it is more important than ever to have an “open door policy.” You aren’t the only one adjusting to the new normal; your team may struggle as they adapt to the virtual office. Be sure to encourage your employees to reach out to you, if needed, and consider speaking with each employee daily. If your team is too large, consider daily meetings via Zoom, Google Hangout, or other video/telecommunication. The teams that communicate the most will be the ones that are most successful during these times.

Highlight Achievements

Receiving acknowledgement can go a long way in boosting employee morale. And while you can’t call a quick stand-up meeting, you can still give kudos virtually in front of your employees’ peers. Keep a tally of specific individuals who have gone above and beyond during this transition and encourage your supervisors and managers to do the same. If you are having consistent call-ins with your team, acknowledge an employee daily or weekly for their outstanding work. If you prefer, consider sending an email to an entire department pointing out an employee’s hard work and ask all recipients to congratulate the person.

Respect Work Hours

If your office is used to 8-to-5 workdays, adjusting to remote work can be difficult. And since you can essentially access your new “office” from anywhere, it can be especially tempting to work overtime and outside traditional work hours. And if you put in extra hours, your team may feel the need to follow suit. Some may even have the urge to always be available to prove themselves during the transition to remote work. While this may be acceptable at first, it can quickly create burnout, causing resentment, disengagement, and low morale. To avoid this, create clear and concise guidelines for your team to follow. For instance, ask your team to be responsibly responsive to emails during 8-to-5 workhours, yet create a time period of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. where the employees need to be available for calls, meetings, etc. This will allow for flexibility, yet ensure workers don’t feel like they need to work outside of a traditional workday. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is key when managing a virtual office.

BONUS: Encourage Virtual Watercooler Talk

One aspect of office life that some people miss is the face-to-face interaction between co-workers. While you may focus on communication with your employees, encourage your team to reach out to one another just to keep in touch. From virtual happy hours to impromptu Skype calls, building camaraderie is key to job fulfillment and communal happiness.

What do you do to help maintain morale with a remote workforce? How are you keeping your team motivated and engaged? Let us know in the comments section below!

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