The COVID-19 pandemic completely redefined how organizations run their day-to-day operation. It changed how everyone worked and communicated with each other — from rank-and-file employees to top management.
Remote work is not a new concept, however. Even before the pandemic, around 17 percent of U.S. employees work from home 5 days or more every week. This number increased by 44 percent during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It only shows that most companies shifting to remote work setups are new to this.
With stringent lockdown and shelter-in-place regulations, many companies were forced to adopt a remote work arrangement. Zoom meetings, emails, and other digital tools like Slack have become staples for organizations worldwide.
Though most workers were ecstatic about this new work setup, the initial excitement died down as work-life balance became more and more blurred. In one survey conducted, about 69 percent of employees reported feeling burnt out from working at home.
Work From Home Is Here To Stay
Right after the World Health Organization declared that coronavirus is a pandemic, remote work was no longer a privilege nor an option. Companies were forced to change their work arrangement not only for their employees’ health and safety but also to survive the harsh economic landscape.
On a global scale, businesses all over the world have required their employees to work from home. Business travels even had to be canceled as countries banned international travels.
Though in the later months of 2020, some companies have already made a move of sending their people back to work, most employees are hesitant, especially with the new virus strain discovered. The current vaccines rolled out are not yet proven to fight off as well this new variant.
With all these said, likely, remote work is here to stay a bit longer than planned. Since many workers already reported feeling depressed, isolated, and burnt out with this remote work setup, organizations must make remote work engaging and exciting.
Among the many health concerns, stress, distraction, and loneliness are the primary ones that many remote workers experience these days. Employers should take active measures to address these concerns as they would affect the company’s overall productivity and operation.
Keeping Remote Employees Engaged and Excited in 2021
1. Encourage to Create a Remote Work Space
Office workers never really thought about building a dedicated workstation at home. After all, they do their jobs in their respective offices.
But all of that changed when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Workers now have to do their jobs at home, making a dedicated workstation a must.
As the summer months approach, your remote work employees might have to reassess their workstation at home.
This means relocating to an area where windows are wider, opting for ergonomic equipment to avoid eye strain and neck and back pains, and getting an air-conditioning system installed to deal with the humid weather.
A lot of remote workers who are single parents have difficulty managing their home life and work. You may also consider giving some form of assistance to these employees, like a privilege to let their kids enroll on some e-learning platforms.
2. Clarify Work-from-home Policies
At the beginning of this whole remote work setup, companies have established respective work-from-home policies to keep everyone guided amid the pandemic.
As some organizations already opted to send some of their staff to the office, it is important to revisit these policies. It could be that few of their willing employees be made to report in the office at least a few times a week.
3. Regularly Touch Base
We are many months already deep down in this whole COVID-19 situation. Though most of us have already adjusted to this whole new normal, it still helps boost employee morale when you check on them daily.
Though the world is more interconnected than ever, nothing could replace actual human interaction. Isolation can lead to various mental health concerns, and as employers, your workers’ mental health should be of primary concern.
4. Respect Work-life Boundaries
Just because your employees are working from home does not mean they are available 24/7. Respect work-life boundaries. Only contact them during working hours, and that is usually from 9 to 5.
Your employees also need to detach themselves from work matters once their shift is over. They need to relax, unwind, and deal with other responsibilities. Otherwise, they would feel burnt out, drastically affecting your overall work productivity.
As we face another year in this new normal arrangement, both employees and management should understand each other’s situation. Hopefully, these tips can help out.