The COVID-19 pandemic is here to stay for a longer period of time than we can imagine. WHO has recently warned the entire world that the fight against this deadly virus is going to be a long and difficult one. India is in its second COVID-19 lockdown, which is going to last till the 3rd of May 2020. The government is currently reviewing the situation and will roll down the regions that are free to lift the lockdown. Meanwhile, employees world over continue to work home, keeping HRs on their toes looking for best ways to keep their employee engagement rate high at all times.
India is currently experiencing its sharpest rise in coronavirus cases and deaths. So, it would be hard to predict the turn of events in the next few days. One thing is quite clear – we won’t have any effective cure to fight the pandemic any time soon. This doesn’t leave employers with too many options when it comes to ensuring that their businesses continue to function amidst all that is happening around. Remote working seems to be the only viable option available to employers; however, it isn’t at all an easy task to remotely manage employees and ensure that they are productive. Employee engagement and employee motivation are two of the biggest concerns that employers are facing amidst these unprecedented times.
Here are four steps that employers can follow to address the above-mentioned concerns:
1. Building stronger communication channels with remote teams
If you are struggling with how to engage your employees during lockdown, you need to think long and hard about your communication with your employees. You need to make sure that your employees don’t feel left alone when they are working from home during COVID. You need to build a work-from-home culture that provides your employees easier ways to seamlessly communicate with each other. Encourage your employees to use instant communication tools like video conferencing, messaging platforms, and email to engage with each other and coordinate their efforts. This will allow your employees to stay connected and be productive.
2. Appreciate your employees more often
Reconsider your employee appreciation model. If there was ever a time that your employees needed motivation, it is now. The employee recognition initiatives that you take now will continue to pay you dividends for a long time to come. Bring a system into effect that acknowledges the efforts of your employees and rewards them. Even the smallest of achievement or milestone should not go unrecognized. If you are thinking about how to motivate your employees during these times, there is no better way to do it.
3. Build a virtual community
This is another way of keeping your employees engaged and motivated. Make sure that your team is always in touch, at least during the work hours. Ensuring flexibility in work hours can also contribute immensely in motivating employees. You can host online time building activities, which form the basis of an effective employee engagement program. Organize activities that give your employees a chance to work together. There are collaborative tools available that can help you virtually plan and host such activities.
4. Encourage employees to look after their mental health
The situation that we are currently in could be too hard to take for some people. Many employees are also at the risk of burnouts as the line between home and work begins to blur. Too much work pressure in times when there are other bigger stresses to manage could leave the mental health of remote employees in a seriously compromised state. So you need to relax and be more flexible whenever possible. Don’t give unrealistic deadlines and tell your employees that you fully trust them. You can suggest ways to take care of their mental and emotional wellbeing.
Reference: “VCs on how to keep employees working from home motivated during coronavirus lockdown” by Thimmaya Poojary on 6th April 2020