Business leaders can be intentional about staying in contact with teams.
Keeping a sense of cohesion and employee engagement can be difficult when team members are scattered about in multiple locations. But it’s not impossible. Leaders can create even more touchpoints of connection when working virtually. At the same time, it’s also important to encourage rejuvenating time away from work. Here are tips for how to maintain a team when working remotely.
Have career conversations
Don’t lose sight of the big picture and the future. Career conversations are more crucial than ever. Planning and developing a team is important to keep employees engaged. For human resources, that means providing a work culture that invests in employees’ careers. A key element of that is providing resources for growth, including digital tools that are easily accessible to the digital natives of the younger workforce.
Encourage vacation time
Vacation is just as important –– if not more important –– when a team is working remotely and feels tethered to email and electronics all the time. Historically, the majority of North America employees don’t use all their allotted vacation time. Unfortunately, overcommitment is counterproductive. Taking vacation time is a vital part of preventing burnout, maintaining job satisfaction and inspiring and motivating an employee’s best work. Encourage employees to disconnect and take their deserved time off.
Globally, 40% of people say schedule flexibility — especially flexible start and finish times and the ability to work from home — is one of the top three factors when making career decisions, according to ManpowerGroup research. While managers should block off time for all employees to be available, remember to allow flexibility in starting, ending and break times. Offering flexibility ensures that when stressful situations hit, employees can bend and not break.
Leaders should work to set communication expectations by creating policies around after work and weekend emails. According to research by Right Management, two-thirds of employees reported that they receive emails from their bosses during the weekend and one in three said they are expected to reply. This might send the message that it’s OK to infringe on personal time. Setting boundaries will ensure that employees can truly unplug with peace of mind on vacation or on days off, and come back more energized.
In the end, working remotely is a balance of structure, routine and flexibility. When in doubt with what your team needs, make an effort to check in with them. Open communication is the key to making remote work successful.