By far, remote work has provided the answer to the ever-burgeoning challenges of the COVID-19 era. It’s the new normal for Americans, a new form of business-as-usual. And whether we like it or not, it’s the solution to a gargantuan problem. The good news is many Americans are doing well working from home. But we may have to tighten our belts more, Stanford research shows this working-from-home economy could be staying for good. Morphing into one permanent reality experts fear.
And yet, productivity is the name of the game. As a budding entrepreneur, your job is to ensure your remote team gets work done more efficiently and effectively. The problem is working from home is working alone. Loneliness is good if you need some space, but it could be detrimental to productivity. In fact, studies show loneliness is as toxic to your health as smoking as many as 1 cigarettes daily.
The good news is a little adjustment should be spot on. Before your remote workers feel burnt out and unproductive like puppets in front of a PC screen, a quick intervention on your part should be timely. Here’s to a better connected remote team.
Spread the Love
Don’t underestimate social isolation. While social media and a host of online communication apps make connecting easy on the web, feelings of loneliness can still creep into remote workers. And it comes with dangerous consequences.
Recent research shows that feelings of loneliness can trigger anxiety, a toxic emotion that can cause telecommuting workers to lower overall productivity. The negative emotion has been traced to the rise of “immature” cells that negatively affects the brain.
What the experts realize is that kindness even when it’s over the internet can do wonders in combatting the spread of loneliness. Showing empathy online is so effective that it is observed to have the same beneficial effects as a face-to-face offer of kindness.
A good way to make acts of kindness happen is to reach out. You can do a crowdfunding campaign for instance. Salesforce did its part by hosting an online talent show. Or you can start the ball rolling by having your people send thank you notes to one another.
Give Timely Support
By the same token, you should ensure your remote workers feel the love and support from your end. And there may not be a better way to show such team support than when their workstations go down.
Having IT services on standby can go a long way in showing you have their backs. Not only will they appreciate quality on-time technical support, but they will also be more motivated to produce knowing you got them covered. Additionally, you can schedule regular IT check-ups for everyone on your team to prevent major remote breakdowns.
Moreover, taking the time to check in on them and talk can do wonders. Individualized approaches show you care. You can use Slack and other messaging apps to talk. Or you can also have each one a buddy who connects with them ensuring their spirits are up.
Make Special Events Special
Make sure you take time to celebrate when the performance is outstanding. It can be an individual success or a group endeavor. Don’t let any accomplishment go unnoticed.
While there may be a thousand-and-one way to celebrate, crafty ways to recognize the success is most beneficial. You can have a team plan days ahead to make the event extra special.
It takes but a creative mind to get things going. An employee doing well can be sent takeout dinner-for-two from a top restaurant in the area. Or a team call over Zoom where team leaders acknowledge productive members can be a great way to recognize zealous workers.
Plus, don’t forget birthdays. Make sure you don’t let the day go by without everyone greeting the celebrant. Better yet, create a surprise birthday party online. You can have a virtual singing session with a cake and wine sent to the birthday worker’s home.
Make Time for Fun
Think of the physical office structure. People mingle. They pop over to a co-worker’s desk and do small talk. It’s a world all its own. Make sure you have space for informal interactions. A group chat for jokes for instance can make one’s day. Or you can also set up virtual dates online. People can dress their part in an impromptu debate for one.
Then, you can have interests at play. Think chess clubs online or how about a group chat meant for pet owners. There’s a whole stretch of ideas you can explore to boost the team spirit of your work-from-home team, as long as you take time to care.