Boosting Employee Engagement During Covid-19

By Ernest Hamilton , Apr 28, 2020 11:15 PM EDT
(Photo : Boosting Employee Engagement During Covid-19)

As many cities and states around the country prepare for phased reopening as we come off the peak of the covid-19 outbreak, they're still figuring out how to return to business as usual, yet within the framework of the new normal, we hear so much about. 

Even with some businesses opening, there is still a message that whenever possible, employees should continue working from home. We're also being asked to keep up with social distancing, even as stay-at-home orders are relaxed. 

This creates an interesting challenge for businesses and employers. 

If they continue to have employees working remotely at home perhaps for an extended period of time, how can they also keep them engaged?

Employee engagement is essential, and particularly during challenging times like what we're currently facing. The following are ways to keep your employees connected, even with ongoing remote work.

Use an Intranet

If you haven't already done so, now might be the time you realize you should set up a company intranet. The covid-19 pandemic has shown many of us that now is the time to focus on doing business in a more streamlined and innovative way, and an intranet can help facilitate that. 

With an intranet, it's like you're creating a virtual watercooler for your employees. 

Rather than having to sift through emails and other messages, everything they need to connect them to the company and their coworkers is in one place.

You can add events, a newsfeed with company announcements, and you can integrate pop-up alerts. 

You can also blog, include a media library, and use social feeds. 

This can help your employees feel like they're in the traditional office setting and can help reduce some of the uncertainty and anxiety they are inevitably feeling right now. 

An intranet can serve as a way to build a virtual community where your employees can go to maintain that connection to corporate culture and their coworkers. It can be a place where you promote casual online conversations, and you can brand your intranet so that it feels like it reflects your company brand and your employer brand. 

Keep Employees Informed

An intranet can actually help you fulfill some of the other tips for keeping employees engaged on this list, including this one. 

Your employees are facing a world of uncertainty. Political leaders aren't on the same page with their messages, nor are medical professionals in many cases. 

You can't do anything about that, but what you can do is ensure you keep your employees as informed as possible and in a timely way. 

Give them concrete dates when you can and keep them in the loop.

Create Specific Guidelines

If you plan to have some or all of your team work remotely for the foreseeable future, starting making concrete guidelines to help them along the way.

One of the biggest issues remote employees often face is that they don't know what's expected of them or what the guidelines are for them.

Let them know what you need from them in a clear, concise way. 

For example, you don't want your employees to assume that since they're working from home, they need to be available on-demand 24/7. Instead, tell them what you reasonably think their work hours and schedules should look like. 

Coach Employees

Employees might feel lost right now, and that again is a completely understandable feeling. When your daily routine is upended in such a drastic way, it's tough to cope.

Take some of the elements of your typical employee training and development program and make them work in a remote environment.

For example, start having employees and managers or company leaders connect one-on-one via video chat for coaching and mentoring. 

A lot of people right now feel stagnant and as if they're floating and not connected to anything. You want your employees to know that you still value them and you want them to be able to continue following a development path. 

Finally, be very aware of the reality of employee burnout that can come from working at home. 

Working at home can seem like a dream at first, but employees tend to quickly realize that it does have its share of downsides. It's tough to disconnect from work, and employees may struggle to see where their workday ends and their homelife begins. 

Recognize the potential for burnout and work with employees to help them establish boundaries that will benefit them and still work well for the organization. 

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