WFH: How to engage remote employees during Covid-19
How to engage remote employees
How to engage remote employees is a question we get asked more as COVID spreads among our users in 60 countries.
(Hint, our daily employee morale data shows the KPI trending down since February, worldwide.)
There are many excellent articles about how to – suddenly – switch to remote working during the Covid-19 challenge.
What employee engagement activities can you do during lockdown?
Today we wanted to give input from other Celpax users for how to handle this new situation:
How to engage remote employees
- Daily Huddles
- One-on-one meetings (15×15)
- Weekly All-staff meetings
- Keep the wellbeing conversations up
1. Daily Huddles (stand up!)
If you’re not already doing this every morning in the office, start with a daily stand up meeting.
Get everyone on your team to check in with the rest to see what they have planned for the workday.
For example, do a 15-minute session max, where you all stand up.
Do a quick round and make sure everyone gets a chance to speak.
If you get off-topic, schedule separate meetings, this is not a forum to plan projects, etc.
Above all, try to keep things as positive as you can
Use 5 minutes for each of these 3 things:
1. What’s up?
2. What are the daily metrics?
3. Where are you stuck?
Did something special make you “mentally” press the green button yesterday? What new red-button challenges are presenting themselves? Take notes to discuss this more during one-on-one meetings, or for the next weekly team meeting.
With Covid extending, take extra time to focus on how people are feeling right now. Perhaps the “where are you stuck” is related to a work task that can’t be solved by the team. But talking about it might have unexpected benefits or creative ideas for solutions.
Many leaders struggle with how to engage remote employees in meetings.
Most importantly, be authentic, be real. Think of something fun!
Crazy Hair Day challenge for tomorrow?
Quick Tips to engage online
How about a rotating “Show and Tell”? Push-ups together to keep fit during lockdown? Or have one person a day start with the best Covid meme?
Some leaders encourage spouses and kids to get involved. This means their families get to know more about your company, and increases the sense of community and belonging.
And most definitely: use a timer.
More on daily huddles here from the 10 Rockefeller habits we follow here at Celpax. And check out Gitlab’s Employee Handbook here, they are a 100% remote company. In other words, they should “know” about working from home and how to engage remote employees.
Video calls are great for those struggling with how to engage staff working remotely.
All of you who’ve spoken with me online know than I’m an avid fan of keeping the camera on (independently on the hair status hehe). It’s just a lot more FUN. It’s also easier to understand each other when you see people’s faces and body language as they speak.
2. One-on-one (15×15)
With Covid-19 spreading, fear is spreading too. Hence your people will be more vulnerable, nervous and worried.
Many of our users mention they see this as a unique possibility for them to get to know their team better. And perhaps for them to see another side of you?
Use the 15×15: Take the first 15 minutes to talk about the other person. Start with a broad question. How are things? What’s up? Perhaps what the other person really needs to speak about isn’t purely work-related, but it’s something he or she needs to get off his chest in order to be more productive at work?
Then take the remaining 15 minutes to follow up on tasks, etc.
Employees want your attention more than your guidance
Remote employees are forced to a higher level of self-organization and autonomy in their daily job tasks. Is anyone struggling with this since they started working from home? Don’t jump to conclusions.
Nurture the feeling of belonging to the company. Be kind. Be there for them, and draw strength from them being there for you. Managers are people too, not superheroes!
“I am a ‘people’ person, so by nature, it is easy to identify with my staff. I am slightly goofy, and am the first to admit when things ‘suck’ at work”, one nurse manager says.
More tips on opening up wellbeing conversations here.
What people want from their managers isn’t so much to get guidance and indications of directions. Most people know what they have to do, and how to get it done. What employees want is their attention according to best-seller “Nine Lies About Work”.
So if you’re asking yourself how to engage remote employees during Covid-19: Give them your attention.
Which brings us to the next point:
3. Weekly All-staff meetings
Teaching managers how to engage remote workers starts at the top.
As a result, many of our users apply short and frequent All-Staff meetings. However, things are moving quickly right now.
How about temporarily gathering your people for quick weekly All-Staff meetings?
This way you can make sure your employees have the latest info, and that you are prioritizing them. Above all, don’t be afraid to show them you care. This is a recommendation we often hear from successful managers.
Managers are people too, not superheroes.
They too would like a manager who makes them feel involved and appreciated.
They too would certainly like a nice relationship with their superiors, to have clarity around company goals, to get frequent feedback to feel seen and made feel valuable.
If top management starts talking about how they feel at work, there’s a higher possibility that the behaviour will trickle down.
Main concern? Do I still have a job here
Be as transparent as possible about strategies and actions you’re taking.
Nothing puts productivity down as much as worrying 24/7 about losing your job, right?
Subsequently, make sure your employees feel part of the company and that their safety and wellbeing is your main priority.
If you’re asking yourself how to engage remote employees during live-streamed meetings, then borrow some of the tips from the Daily Huddles.
“Our idea was for everyone to contribute, not just to have the boss talking away”, is a tip from one agile HR while trying to navigate through a crisis.
Turn it into a virtual coffee date and break up into random groups to help people connect that don’t meet through daily huddles, etc.
Or have people share their experiences, or how they solved a new problem, Q&A sessions. Get a department to share something with the rest, etc. If you have experienced remote employees, have them share their best tips.
Again, these All-Staff meetings should be kept short… In other words, dynamic and (hopefully) fun.
4. Keep up the wellbeing conversations: How’s the engagement among remote workers?
Our data shows that organizations that continuously converse about how people feel at work, have higher employee morale.
They also take less time to recoup after a tough period or a crisis.
Help the team come together and revise the Green & Red feedback list. For instance, what should we start, stop and continue doing as a team and as a company?
Use the feedback from the daily huddles and weekly meetings as a basis.
Work from home improvements
Draw on their strength as you make plans for the upcoming weeks and months.
Firstly, how do they see X happen? Or Y improved? What would make them have better workdays?
As the Celpax device is physical, it’s hard to push buttons from home So how is the Employee Mood KPI trending?
We are currently being approached by users asking us both how to engage remote employees and also to know how engaged and motived their teams are during the Covid outbreak.
We hear you!
During our Zoom team meeting today (only Rafa did the crazy hair day) we discussed different options.
We will shortly reach out with packages that interested companies can sponsor, to get a solution in place for remote workers.
I’m also sharing ideas for employee engagement for on-site workers.
So stay tuned… and above all, stay safe
PS. I’ve been working from home during the confinement. Here’s how my productivity has changed.
Hej! I’m Rebecca, co-founder at Celpax. We manufacture simple tech tools to improve workplaces. And build a better society while at it. Technology photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com