We’ve said it before – we’ll say it again. A strong, healthy community is good for business, especially with companies across the country adapting to a work-from-home model in response to COVID-19.
According to Gallup, companies in the top quartile of employee engagement are 21% more profitable, 17% more productive and experience nearly 60% less turnover. Plus, according to the Harvard Business Review, close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%, and people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully.
But how can you facilitate a strong community, especially in times of crisis?
As many of us adjust to a new, coronavirus-induced normal, we are sharing five tips for effectively managing virtual teams.
- Stay connected. When teams are unable to connect face-to-face, it takes a concerted and intentional effort to remain connected. Check-in frequently, and when conducting team meetings, pay attention to who does and doesn’t speak up. If you notice a member of your team fading into the background, reach out.
- Align expectations. Establish clear expectations and ensure teams understand how expectations align with broader company goals and objectives. Individuals tend to be more motivated when they are presented with a clear vision and can internalize their role, the importance of the work they do and the distinct purpose their work serves to achieve.
- Take an active approach to management. Work with your team to establish more short-term goals knowing the long-term future is uncertain. Hold employees accountable for achieving goals and reaching benchmarks, recognize their successes and remain engaged with progress along the way.
- Communicate clearly. Checking in with employees frequently is critical when you’re unable to interface in person. Remember: nuances and hints don’t translate well electronically. Be direct to avoid confusion, frustration or misunderstanding. Plus, make sure that you’re engaging in true two-way communication, which will build trust and accountability while maintaining strong work relationships.
- Foster engagement. It’s easy for remote employees to become siloed, causing even strong communities to suffer. Intentional activities that encourage conversation and team building can make a big difference. For example: facilitate virtual team lunches or happy hours. Creating space for online “watercooler” interactions will keep employees connected and engaged.
Working from home is different, sure. Even challenging. But it can still yield positive results across many fronts. In the words of KWI CEO Celia Willis, “Disruption can result in growth and creativity, I’ve seen a boatload of creative ideas emerge from our team and other companies in reaction to the recent crisis.”
Need assistance engaging and managing your remote workforce? We’d love to partner with you. Contact us today and find out how our team can support yours as we prevent silos and build a stronger, more resilient community together.