Lauren Howard (3)
November 5, 2020
Posted by Home (ENG)
Businesses have had to face unprecedented change this year to their operations, navigating through a pandemic, facing a rapid succession of challenges, and surviving a national lockdown - only to be thrust back into restrictions for a second time.
Most have adapted quickly, enabling their workforce to work remotely, and making strategic and sometimes difficult decisions for business profitability. With a second lockdown imminent some will be taking advantage of the UK furlough scheme and most likely reverting to complete remote working where possible – but what does this mean for employee engagement?
An engaged team is a successful one, so in the middle of a global pandemic as a business leader how do you create togetherness when your workforce is remote or furloughed?
Effective and clear leadership.
Needless to say, Covid-19 is the face of business change, teams will be looking for clear direction and updates from leadership. Expectations of them need to be aligned to these changes and by having a clear business strategy with regular communication, the team understands what is needed from them and how they align with the larger plan. Transparency with the team is key, furloughed, or working remotely it’s imperative they understand where the business is heading.
Technology is the way forward.
Zoom, Microsoft Teams, countless other software that enables team communication has risen hugely in importance. Whether that is a Monday meeting to align objectives and share ideas, or a mid-week catch up to answer questions it’s vital all employees have access to mobile-friendly technology that works whilst working remotely.
Keeping the feeling of togetherness.
Homeworking of course has a different feel than a buzzing office, to maintain your work culture incorporate weekly virtual team activities, don’t feel the need to micromanage but regularly check in on how your employees are coping and offer advice with any challenges they may face. Having other leaders or internal brand ambassadors that commit to leading virtual meetings and catch-ups is a great idea so it remains consistent.
This may seem obvious but your team will appreciate transparency and clear communication in a challenging time. Business updates are essential, be mindful if you have furloughed workers they will also be seeking updates but most likely won’t have access to work emails/programs so communicate on a channel that reaches your whole workforce. Aside from work communications aim to catch up with them regularly, lockdown restrictions in the miserable winter months may affect their wellbeing and mental health, their engagement will likely increase if they feel included and their wellbeing considered.
Lockdown certainly doesn’t mean that businesses should grind to a halt, with these restrictions many industries can continue - therefore this is a time for creative thinking, reflection, and collaborative thinking to make improvements. Sharing content with the team and encouraging sharing industry news and relevant work projects is imperative to continuously move forward in a positive direction.
Different businesses will have varied strategies of how to ensure employee satisfaction and engagement are kept at a high level, I believe these 5 steps are a great place to start.