Neil Debenham

How to keep staff engaged during Coronavirus restrictions, with business adviser, Neil Debenham

Boris Johnson has spoken. And once again, he says if you can work at home, work at home. And unless you’re an essential worker you may find yourself back on your laptop at your kitchen table at home. 

If this sounds all too familiar, you may want to think about ways to engage your staff. After all, they may be used to some good office banter and so they will really struggle being isolated at home.

In normal times there are loads of benefits to working from home including being able to pick up kids from childcare settings or school. You can save cash on fuel and of course, no more sitting around in some terrible commutes every morning.

As we battle this pandemic, you’ll need to make sure your remote workers are connected,” Neil Debenham says.

Consider home environments

Make sure staff have a good set-up at home and that they are taking time off to have regular breaks and that they’re eating lunch.

Without colleagues to chat to, it’s so easy to work solidly throughout the day. But continued periods like this can lead to mental or physical health problems as a result. Ensure you and your senior staff are encouraging employees to establish a routine and take care of themselves whilst working remotely.

Communication

If your staff are all working from home, they will miss people and interaction. The best thing you can invest in is a modern intranet – something like Attollo.

Staff can respond to messages or feedback instantly from the home page. They can access people directories, find people to collaborate with, take part in polls and message instantly and the best thing is, they can do this under one platform.

This means productivity is higher as staff are not spending hours looking for sick forms or things they can easily access on a cloud-based centralised system. Designate a staff member to be responsible for uploading content so everything is up-to-date.

Regular video chats

A good way to engage with staff is to get them involved with video chats. You can see what work they’re under way with and how they’re getting on in general. You could use something like Microsoft Teams if you have an intranet system. If not, try Zoom. A quick chat each morning will make people feel united. Ultimately, this will help your colleagues form better bonds with their co-workers.  

To build even stronger connections during your weekly video meetings, you could add a personal touch by letting everyone grab a beer and sign off an hour early on Fridays.

Acknowledge hard work

By showing employees you can care, you will ultimately gain more respect and have them working harder for you. Staff retention is also better!

You could try an Employee of the Month award and show these on an intranet or company website. You may even use rewards to motivate, such as a points board for sales. The reward could be finishing work an hour early, or beers from the work fridge, or membership to the local gym for a month. The possibilities are endless. Ask staff what they’d like to work for!

Plan to be sociable

Events like Christmas parties may not be possible at the moment, but they are certainly things you can plan for in the future. Staff would then be engaged and motivated to work.

When more than six people can meet up again, it’s a great opportunity to meet up and be sociable.

Until then, why not organise a zoom quiz with prizes? Neil Debenham concludes.

You can follow Neil Debenham on Instagram , Twitter and Linked In

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