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Although the time in New Jersey is growing nearer for employees to again return to their workplaces, many businesses will opt to keep many employees home, working remotely.

As companies develop plans on the possible return of employees, many are coming to the conclusion that keeping workers home who can work remotely is the best option, at least through the next few months.

Although many employees have been working from home since March, many still struggle. A survey of 2,877 workers last month by Slack found that nearly one-third of workers new to remote working felt their productivity had suffered while working at home.

Among some of the challenges experienced by remote workers is the loss of a sense of belonging, the ability to easily collaborate with team members, and inefficiencies in processes and communication.

With camps and daycare facilities phasing back into operation in the coming weeks, many working parents will be hesitant to send their children into these environments. Keeping children home during the summer while also remaining productive in their jobs will most certainly be a challenge.

Businesses should focus on ways to ensure their employees remain engaged, as an engaged workforce is a productive one.    Some things to consider their managers to do:

  • Have managers conduct weekly team video meetings. Use this time to not only discuss business, but to also facilitate an open discussion regarding the challenges team members are facing in adapting to a non-conventional workplace.  Consider this exercise which can strengthen your team’s sense of shared accountability. Ask every person to identify how they rely on each of their team members. Then compare answers. There should be explicit commitments they each make to one another, in which you, the manager, remain uninvolved.
  • Get the team together periodically for a virtual happy hour. Don’t underestimate the importance of developing team camaraderie in a non-work dynamic.
  • Consider a secure way for your business to use live chat software and clearly communicate to employees that it is intended for business use only.
  • Have one-on-one meetings with each team member to review their performance and offer the employee a more private opportunity to discuss any challenges which might be impacting their work. These one-on-one meetings should also be a way for managers to work on building trust. Help build rapport by chatting with employee about family, hobbies, etc. This may take some managers well out of their comfort zone, so keep the conversation light. Consider first having these one-on-ones weekly with the option of making them bi-weekly after a certain period of time.

The ability to engage your employees through this challenging time cannot be understated. Developing a comprehensive employee engagement strategy is essential and should include training managers on best practice techniques.

As a seasoned human resources professional who has helped leaders at Fortune 500 companies successfully manage remote work forces, Gordon Marzano from Marzano Human Resources Consulting can partner with your business on a plan which will strengthen employees’ commitment to your organization and, ultimately, increase their productivity.


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