In the past 2 years many agency owners have taken the decision to close their offices and move to a remote, or hybrid workforce.
The pandemic has given a taste of a more flexible working environment – with many to adopt a hybrid style of working, whether that be splitting their time between the office and home or even choosing to work exclusively from home.
The benefits to remote working are plentiful and mean staff can spend more time spent with family and save on the commute.
Despite the benefits, it is also true that many areas of business and management need a serious re think! Whether it is on-boarding new starters, training or sustaining that all important office culture that you have spent years cultivating.
Here are our top 5 ways to keep a sense of connection and community within your remote workforce. .
- Team online socials
- Microsoft teams, Slack, Zoom etc
- Celebrating successes
- One to ones/ mentor program
- Promote trust and flexibility
Team online socials
For those who tend to be more outgoing or draw their energy and motivation from interacting with others, remote working can prove a challenge. Online socials with your team mean that colleagues can interact outside of the general work-oriented meetings and emails. Socials, while they may not be in person are still integral for employee morale and maintaining strong relationships between team members. Strong personal connections in the workplace result in a more collaborate and communicative professional environment. Why not get creative with your team socials and find ways to mix and mingle on screen.
Microsoft teams, Slack, Zoom etc
Having started out as a bit of a novelty (don’t tell Zoom we said that!) these platforms have quickly become essential to remote working – from company-wide conference calls to training sessions and socials. There are now several platforms offering various features, so it is worth comparing what these platforms have to offer and at what cost so best to suit your business. For example, while Teams and Zoom offer a free option this may only be suitable for smaller groups and shorter calls. Slack can be a great way to keep up chat during the day to keep staff engaged.
Celebrating team successes can be a great way to connecting a remote workforce and are so important to promoting a positive environment and keeping a buzz around the work you are producing. There are many ways to do this and while it may vary from agency to agency, you will find that staff are never adverse to being celebrated and thanked for their hard work.
Consider a monthly award, or a fun target system based on results. Working towards results in a positive way will engage your team and make celebrating success more meaningful.
Pre-scheduling a one-to-one chat with team members on a regular basis should be a top priority. Not only can it be used to discuss specific challenges or successes, but it is a chance to check in on your employee’s mental health and for them to communicate any underlying issues they may not feel comfortable raising in a group setting. Many have found the change to remote working particularly challenging, this may be due to their new working environment not being suitable or feelings of isolation. Talking things through can help find solutions – maybe the company can provide equipment such as a laptop stand or back rest to make working remotely safer and more comfortable or maybe a colleague needs to be offered more support when it comes to their mental health. Not only will regular one-to-ones improve job satisfaction and promote productivity, but it will build trust and strengthen relationships within the team.
Promote trust and flexibility
Working remotely comes with it’s fair share of challenges and distractions, especially when trying to focus on connecting a remote workforce. Trusting your team to dedicate the appropriate amount of time and effort to their roles means allowing a degree of flexibility. This can include being flexible with team members moving their breaks to better fit their schedule or even moving a few hours around in an employee’s working day to allow for things like school pick-up. While employers may not be able to monitor their employees so closely in a remote working model, trust and communication is key to ensuring that work is still being completed on time and to a high standard. This goes to the heart of connecting a remote workforce. Most have relished the extra time working remotely has allowed to spend with family or for themselves; this trust and compassion towards your employees will be re-paid threefold. Furthermore, marketing your company as flexible and trusting will attract more diverse talent – geographical location is no longer a limiting factor when it comes to employment. Companies who have introduced a strict return-to-office policy have seen a mass exodus of their employees as more people seek a flexible model.
How are you focusing on connecting a remote workforce in your agency?
Writen by: Eve Hellowell