3 Ways to Support Employees Working From Home
Several months into the coronavirus pandemic, working from home has become the new normal for many people. While remote working has provided a safe alternative for individuals to continue performing their jobs, it has also made employee engagement more challenging.
There are many ways to bolster employee engagement and support efforts, whether working remotely or in the office. It’s essential to support your staff in a way that creates solidarity and confidence, no matter what’s happening in their lives.
In this article, we’ll discuss three ways to support employees working from home that have proven effective for APS. You can then determine what tactics work best to continue providing an environment that fosters satisfaction and productivity.
1. Check In With WFH Employees Regularly
The most crucial way to stay connected with your employees and know how they’re doing is regular communication. You can establish consistent communication in the following ways:
Daily conversations with managers have proven very useful for APS employees. While this approach may seem overwhelming, it’s a great way to bridge communication gaps between employees, especially for employees working from home before the pandemic.
Daily check-ins are vital for managers to use to connect with team members and drive employee engagement. This frequency allows managers to identify potential issues early and get ahead of them. A recent Gallup poll found that when managers know what projects or tasks employees are working on, staff are almost 7x more likely to be engaged.
Schedule a 15-30 minute video call with your employees each day to see how they’re doing. Find out what they’re working on, if they need help, or if they’re struggling on a personal level. Your employees will also appreciate the face-to-face time they’re used to receiving in the office. This insight into your employees’ well-being not only shows them that you care but allows you to be a better leader.
Surveys are a great way to gather feedback from your employees without disrupting their daily activities. You have an opportunity to measure employee sentiment about current work schedules, working from versus in the office, and conduct an overall mental health assessment.
Choose employee survey questions that will give you the feedback needed to make more informed decisions to better support your staff. For example:
- What are the two biggest challenges you are currently facing while working from home?
- Do you have all the equipment you need to work from home?
- Is it more challenging to separate personal and work time when working from home?
You may find that some employees are struggling with social isolation or balancing working at home with their children learning virtually. Use the survey results to identify potential issues so you can be proactive about determining resolutions to support your employees better. To make things easier for you, we’ve put together some employee check-in survey questions to use as a starting point.
Instant communication tools provide a great way to check-in with your employees as well. APS uses Slack, and it has been essential in keeping our team connected in real-time no matter where we’re working. Using these types of communication platforms can cut down on inbox clutter and make it easier for questions to get answered in a more timely manner.
Another way we use Slack is to encourage employee engagement. You can use instant communication tools to post challenges that promote interaction and socializing. These activities are fun to break up the monotony that can occur when working from home.
2. Consider a Hybrid Schedule
While many employers have shifted to a remote workforce, some employees might be more productive in an office setting. Depending on your state’s reopening phase, you could consider adopting a hybrid schedule where employees work both at home and in the office.
A hybrid work schedule allows you to have flexibility with how many days a week, month, or quarter employees work from home and come into the office. This approach can also create a smoother transition back to the office while adhering to federal and state regulations.
A hybrid work model is also beneficial for employees, as it allows them to maintain the work-life balance they have discovered during this time home. When the need arises, they can still come to the office to complete tasks or attend meetings. Furthermore, employees have the flexibility to work at their own pace and when they are most productive.
This type of schedule is advantageous for employers and employees because it offers the best of both worlds. A hybrid work model ensures goals are met, productivity is steady, and employees are safe.
3. Organize Virtual Company Events
You can still plan company gatherings even if your team isn’t all together. It’s more important than ever to organize virtual company events to keep employee morale high. Here are a few ways you can go virtual with team get-togethers:
Our employees have used virtual happy hours to connect while not in the same location. Employees can use these after-hours gatherings to catch up, reset from the day, and enjoy each other’s company. Our team is more like a family, and we still want the opportunity to socialize with each other. Plan an afternoon virtual social that gives your employees a chance to interact with each other and take a much-needed break from tasks.
Bonus Tip: Encourage Employees to Help Each Other
We wanted to leave you with a bonus tip for supporting your employees working from home. Encourage your staff to check on each other and offer help if needed. It may be easier for an employee to open up to a co-worker than a manager. Studies have even shown that when team members are motivated to help others, their teams perform better.
One of APS’ core values is Serve Others. Our employees look for ways to help their colleagues, which also helps our customers and community. This work mindset promotes employee engagement and boosts morale
Take Care Of Your Employees
It’s easy to get wrapped up in what we have on our plates and forget that others may be struggling. It’s even easier to miss these cues when you don’t see your employees every day. It’s crucial to develop a support plan to ensure you stay connected and proactive with your staff’s mental health.
Once you determine which support methods work best for your organization, communicate your plan to your staff. Let your workforce know their well-being is a top priority. When you take care of your employees, they take care of your business.
APS is focused on the client experience, and we know that customer satisfaction starts with employee satisfaction. By supporting our employees, we ensure they are happy and engaged. With this critical investment in our people, we have created a foundation for customer success.
APS recently earned four company culture awards in Comparably’s Best Work Places of 2020: Best Company Work-Life Balance, Best Company Happiness, Best Company Perks & Benefits, and Best Company Compensation.