The coronavirus is an unprecedented situation, forcing millions of people to stay at home. In addition to the health risks, the crisis is placing a great deal of pressure on the economy, both on businesses and employees. Aside from workers deemed “essential,” most employees are compelled to remain at home. If your business is one of the many where employees are working from home for an indeterminate period, how do you help keep their spirits up? Let’s look at some ways you can help to make this situation as tolerable as possible for both you and your employees.
Remind Everyone of the Positive Aspects
Working at home has actually become quite popular in recent years, with more and more companies offering this type of flexible arrangement to employees. In this way, one small positive aspect of the quarantine is that the notion of working at home is not entirely alien to many people. In fact, it’s often considered a benefit. You can emphasize the advantages of a work at home schedule.
- No commuting
- Spend more time with your family
- Flexible hours
Of course, it’s a mixed blessing at best to be forced to stay home. For one thing, employees working remotely don’t have the usual luxury of being able to work from their laptops in cafes and other public places. However, it’s still worth pointing out that it’s not entirely negative. Reminding your employees of the advantages can help them to see the bright side of the situation.
Create Clear Expectations
While working from home is a flexible and convenient option in many ways, it’s also a big change for many people. For employees accustomed to working in an office or store, being at home all day is a big adjustment. It’s important to set up clear guidelines for what you expect. Here are some ways to encourage productive work at home habits for your employees.
- Set deadlines for assignments and make sure each person or team is clear about their responsibilities.
- Give employees established times for checking in. Employees should call in once or twice per day. For larger businesses, this can be a group call.
- Organize regular virtual meetings. These are healthy for maintaining a sense of community as well as for sharing important business information.
- Use tools that make it easy for everyone to communicate and share files. If employees need to upload files, it’s best if everyone uses the same system whether it’s Google Docs, Dropbox, or another platform.
When employees work at home, it can be challenging for them to feel a sense of connection with one another and the workplace. This is true during the best of times as the principle “out of sight, out of mind” comes into play. During a crisis, it’s even more important to maintain a sense of community. Fortunately, there are many tools that make this possible.
Keep in mind when you connect with employees that they are all experiencing their own unique challenges right now. Some have kids they now are responsible to teach at home. Others may have elderly relatives with health challenges. Take a few extra minutes to ask about their well-being and if there’s anything you can do to help. While we mentioned the need to set deadlines, you can also be flexible if someone is going through a particular hardship.
One way to foster a sense of community is to start a group on Facebook, LinkedIn, or another platform. Google Hangouts are also good for online socializing. If you prefer, you can use an internal messaging system. If you use an intranet tool such as Slack, make sure you devote a channel for purely social purposes. When people can’t see each other in person, it’s crucial to provide a social outlet. Of course, people who are already friends can call and email one another. However, by creating a channel for the whole company or team you provide a space where everyone can chat.
Send Gifts to Your Employees
Staying home for most of the day quickly gets monotonous. One way to bring some cheer into your employees’ lives is to give them gifts. This is a good time to have some branded promotional items made just for this purpose. Here are a few ideas to lift the spirits of your employees working from home:
- Food Gifts
- Adult Coloring Books
These and other promotional products will make your employees feel more appreciated as well as comfortable, as they work from home. Best of all, these items can last for a long time, hopefully long past the duration of this crisis. Not only is it a nice thing to do for your team, but when everyone can go out again, many of these items will be widely seen, helping to promote your brand.
Businesses Need to be Flexible
No one knows exactly how long the coronavirus quarantine will last. The specific measures, such as keeping non-essential businesses closed, may vary from place to place. Every business, however, needs to be extremely flexible in these challenging times. Working from home has its benefits as well as its drawbacks. By following these guidelines, you can help your employees feel comfortable and connected while also keeping your business as productive as possible. We here at Brandables wish you the best during this difficult time.