Still Here & Still Remote: Supporting Your People in a COVID-19 World

As remote work becomes more long-term for workers across industries due to the COVID-19, organizations need to continue effectively guiding workers through the days, weeks and months ahead and supporting productivity, engagement and overall morale. How can you make this a reality for your business?

In this second article, we’ll dive deeper into the importance of effective communication, support and recognition during this challenging time.

Adjustment and consistent communication

While this period of remote work has become more normalized for many, consistent communication remains integral to facilitate and encourage healthy adjustments for employees.  Encouraging managers and leaders to communicate –  and listen –  during this time of uncertainty is essential, as is instilling a culture of support to help avoid burnout or stress.

Organizations can show this kind of support in a number of ways. Making it easy for employees to access communications and critical information is key. Employers can achieve this by creating a digital database where employees can access updates and key company information, benefits to support their needs, and ongoing communications from leadership in order to feel connected to the company and its mission.

Managers and leaders may need to adjust their styles to provide clearer communication and support beyond what’s typically offered under usual circumstances. Just as employees are innovating and adapting, organizational leadership can introduce new approaches, technology and processes to increase touchpoints and improve collaboration.

For example, weekly video updates and regular group meetings can be effective. Videos, personal stories and photos also help employees feel more connected with their leadership teams and colleagues, leading to increased levels of engagement. For managers, taking extra time to reach out to their team members, schedule frequent one-on-one’s and deliver public moments of employee recognition will help workers feel more valued, respected and visible during this time.

It is important however to understand that every employee will have different needs throughout this time, and may need different tactics and support to maintain connection with their organization. To overcome this, employers should survey their people to learn what support will make the most impact.

Read More: TecHRseries Interview with Iain Moffat, Chief Global Officer at People First

Connecting employees with each other

To keep employees connected during this era of remote work, employers should create spaces and opportunities for people to connect digitally. Video conference calls, instant messaging groups, or peer-written blogs through centralized employee engagement platforms are a great start and have proven effective for many organizations. Non-work-related activities like virtual cocktail hours and meetings amongst peer interest groups can strengthen culture and reinforce important connections during this time of isolation.

When companies communicate with employees and encourage employees to communicate with each other, the outcomes are overwhelmingly positive. Connected and engaged employees make better decisions, are more innovative and even are found to be more productive.

The habit of appreciation

In the best of times, we know appreciation is integral to employee motivation and engagement. Today, HR leaders and managers need to continue to support employee morale and applaud good work by enabling visible and social moments of recognition. A digital, peer-to-peer recognition and reward program is a powerful way to celebrate accomplishments in real-time to the entire company, helping remote workers feel valued. This type of tool highlights commendable work across the organization, shining a spotlight on the effort, talent and successes of employees, wherever they’re based.

Read More: Can Employees Help Lead the Way out of this Covid-19 Crisis?

Not all recognition needs to occur online. For frontline or deskless employees, leaders can celebrate small wins and progress with frequent and continuous rewards and recognition. This could be in the form of simple “thank you” notes, celebrating team progress in a shift meeting, or rewarding associates with time off. These gestures help all employees understand what quality work looks like, and encourage more of it.

When implemented holistically, recognition initiatives bring together employees and teams while offering much needed support, connection and appreciation. To empower employees, encourage their continued hard work and productivity, and promote wellness, HR leaders must dedicate themselves to these practices and provide their people with unwavering support and recognition.

Read More: Put Your People First: How Communication Can Guide Organizations Through Crisis

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