How To Maintain Company Morale During Work-For-Home

Undoubtedly the future of work is at home.

Or so Forbes predicted in a recent article, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic which moved millions of workers into their study rooms. They’re not the only ones suggesting that the future of work will be a hybrid one, with telecommuting speculated to emerge as a fixture of post-Covid life. That’s even if there is a post-Covid world: some experts predict that the world Covid-19 has ushered in will be around for the next 2 years.

In any case, employers have to consider how to manage working from home as this new normal extends indefinitely.

Institute a new work routine

The most important thing for any employer to do is to institute a new work rhythm. With the loss of face-to-face communication and the rhythms of office life, instituting new rhythms of communication is pivotal to ensure the smooth functioning of a company. Work-from-home arrangements necessarily disrupts the traditional work rhythm, as employees are exposed to new responsibilities and distractions that do not exist in the office.

These new rhythms can take the form of daily meetings; regular newsletters; or trying out new virtual collaboration tools, such as Rhythm Strategy Execution Software, which helps add momentum in between meetings and keep employees accountable for tasks.

Managing employees working from home also necessitates that employers take an active interest in how they’re coping. Different employees have different responsibilities at home, which may include caregiving and looking after children. These responsibilities can hinder an employee’s ability to work in the same way they would in the office, and a caring employer will take the time to check in on their staff.

This can be done through 1-on-1 catch-ups and calls where the employer takes a proactive effort to assess how the transition is going. Regular staff check-ins can boost morale as it demonstrates that leaders are conscious of the multiple hats that employees have to juggle at home.

A leader with foresight will work with employees to help them plan around their specific challenges at home and deliver good work not in spite of, but because of, being at home. That is, a good employer will help them turn obstacles into advantages.

Obstacles that every employee faces

For one, the lack of social spaces and avenues can make employees feel drained and unable to give their all. Without the camaraderie built in the shared office space, employees can feel disconnected from each other and the team’s mission.

Insider reports that the chit-chat at the water cooler and at the start of the day is crucial for raising spirits and improving creativity when working on tasks – without these small but meaningful interactions, employees remain starved of the human interaction vital for good work.

A good leader will take this into account and ensure that there remains avenues for bonding. These Digital Water Coolers can take the form of Slack channels dedicated to conversations outside of work, Zoom calls for chit-chat, and a light-hearted culture that encourages socialization. Maintaining a spirit of joviality is key, especially in industries which require workers to be creative.

Another important thing to bear in mind is Zoom fatigue. This is an experience many of us should relate to by now; Harvard Business Review explains that Zoom drains our social energy due to the way we process information differently over video. It’s not just in your head – Zoom drains everybody’s energy, leaving us feeling unmotivated and unengaged.  A practical boss should factor this in when calling for meetings.

For more tips and tricks on keeping your employees engaged, check out this article.

Minimize Zoom fatigue

How do we minimize the effects of Zoom fatigue? An intentional attitude towards meetings goes a long way. Co-planning your meetings in advance over Slack and other work apps can be a great way for getting everybody on board with the meeting’s goals. When everybody comes in with clear intentions set out in advance, time will be used appropriately and points struck off quickly.

Last, don’t forget the small things. The advice in this piece boils down to bearing the small things in mind when organizing your team. When transitioning to a different work style, the small things are the ones we leave out – checking in with each other to see who needs help, remembering to celebrate milestones, and being conscious of who’s disadvantaged by the new format.\

Nurture a culture of care

Employees appreciate colleagues and leaders who can remember the small things and actively demonstrate their support and energy. When you lead the way in modeling attentiveness and care, your team will follow, and create a culture that’s not just as good, but even better than office culture.

 

 

 

Helena Ma brings with her a wealth of experience and a truly cosmopolitan perspective, having lived and worked in Shanghai, China; Gothenburg, Sweden; and London, UK. Her stints in Europe and China has armed Helena with a potent blend of ancient Chinese wisdom and contemporary Western knowledge which she incorporates into business management and client project