A friend made the suggestion, that instead of social distancing it should be called physical distancing. I like that idea. You can still maintain a level of sociability while being physically disconnected. Human beings are social beings from evolution and this interaction is paramount to our mental and physical health.
This has never been more important than now. As we distance ourselves physically it is important to our mental health to maintain a sense of connectivity to each other which is important with friends as well as with work.
As our employment sector moves to a completely remote environment, management needs to remind themselves to ensure they remain connected as an organization. Especially for those that are doing this for the first time, there is an adjustment period. Employees that were used to being in an office everyday need more than just a computer. They need to feel like they are still part of the team they saw every day.
We all know, that employees like to feel connected, remote or not. Connected employees have higher morale and higher productivity.
Here are some quick reminders on how to ensure that your new workforce feels connected:
- Personalize: We have all received emails from every company that we have ever done business with on how they are handling the Covid-19 Pandemic. I am sure like me, most of the emails are deleted prior to opening. Not because they have any ill intention, more because it really doesn’t feel like it has anything to do with me. When communicating with those now remote employees, try and personalize / customize your messages when you can. It can go a long way to let an employee know they are still being thought of.
- Technology: There are so many technological solutions out there to help remote employees, from video conferencing to chat tools, that can easily be implemented to make employees feel connected. The trick is picking the ones you want to use and implementing them and using them consistently across the company. A few other technology tips: try limiting the number of people on conference or video calls. Remember timing of calls is not always ideal for everyone, so try and accommodate when possible. Also consider the technology not just to assist in meetings but also for socialization. Host a Friday Brown Bag Meeting via Zoom and chat for a bit.
- Designate a Resource: So many of these tools that we are expecting employees to use are user friendly, but don’t assume everyone knows how to use them. Have someone that is a designated resource to get people up and running. The time spent up front will pay off.
- Expectations still Matter: After you have ensured hardware, software, broadband, make sure as management we are communicating what expectations are in this new environment. Should we be dressed and ready at 8:30 am, or is it a “get your work done when you want” situation. Communicating expectations is the role of management. Do not assume any one inherently knows what they are.
- Check In: These are stressful times for literally EVERYONE. Your employees are your front line, and you need them to get through this. People are all responding differently, with different stressors. Try and schedule Check-ins to see how everyone is really doing.
The PEO industry is an industry that is built for crisis and we have been through many. Already our industry is out and in front with resources, webinars, and lobbying efforts. We can and will get through this time, but let’s do it connected. Reach out to each other… 6 to 0 feet apart please.
Stay Smart, Stay Safe.