With remote work in the age of coronavirus, many companies find themselves in uncharted waters, scrambling to maintain some type of cultural normalcy in the hopes that engagement and morale don’t flounder. Employee communications – now more than ever – can be a company’s lifeline. And while there are more distractions than ever with kids and dogs sharing the workplace, it is possible to communicate effectively. It is possible to be personal and foster connectivity with employees – wherever they work.
Stay connected. Don’t let distance dampen your traditional “face time.” Many virtual meeting and work tools available such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, Slack and Skype offer ways to help your team learn important company information. Those tools also provide ways to connect, collaborate and foster a sense of community. Whatever tools you use, look for ways to establish routines. Leaders can take this time to hold frequent team meetings such as daily video huddles — whether it’s part of a new way to start the day or to offer opportunities to ask questions, share company information, priorities or ideas.
Inject fun into your virtual workplace. People need ways to let off steam now more than ever. Many virtual tools offer ways to do just that. For example, ask people to post photos of their pets and their workspaces to offer behind-the-scenes glimpses. Some companies are using Slack to host trivia contests, share ideas of what they are doing for fun, discuss books they are reading or take virtual field trips. Other companies are hosting virtual happy hours through video chats, giving people a chance to unwind at the end of the workday over drinks.
Centralize important information. Make it easy for employees to access important information by creating a hub. It can simply be a document library for policies and procedures, company objectives, training documents or FAQs. Having this information accessible can also help with onboarding new employees now or in the future.
Gather feedback. Check in with employees frequently to ask how things are going. This is a great way to foster connectivity and it helps employees feel they have a voice which in turn helps morale. Whether you do it through one-on-one meetings, team meetings or surveys, make sure employees know you are listening. Be sure to acknowledge all suggestions and act on them whenever possible to show employees they can make a difference. Be an inspiring voice.
Keith and Loren Yaskin run The Flip Side Communications LLC, a Scottsdale media company that helps companies tell their stories through video production, public relations, media training and employee communications.