Working from home has allowed many of us flexibility we never had in the office, but with the flexibility can come new challenges. From habits that may have been lost, to the ease in working past shifts, and difficulties in separating work and life.
It can be tough when all aspects of your life happen in the same space, but there are absolutely things that can be done to help alleviate much of the difficulty that can come with working from home.
Here are ten tips to help you support your employees through the new virtual environment:
1. Encourage Breaks:
Working from home adds a pressure to be constantly next to your email or phone, though that’s not the case. Encourage your team to take the breaks they deserve. It’s okay, and in fact good for your mindset, to step away a few times a day. Doing so will actually help promote productivity. A refreshed mind is much more effective than a tired one.
2. Walking Video Check-ins
Not only can you tell your employees to take a walk on their breaks, you can also schedule walking video check-ins where you walk with your employee outside. This ensures they get a change of scenery, and you get another touch point with them — further driving engagement.
3. Foster Team Support
Create a rolling buddy system within your team to encourage teammates to check-in with one another throughout their day. You can assign a different buddy every other week and ask your employees to send you a piece of information you’d like teammates to discuss, helping to hold them accountable to the check-ins. Teammate check-ins are a great way to reinforce to your team that they are supported, while getting them comfortable with teammate relationships — allowing team building exercises to become even more productive.
4. Team Building Exercises
Host team building exercises to reinforce to your employees they aren’t alone in their situation nor in how they are feeling. To help you create an effective virtual exercise, consider getting some assistance from a specialist. Blue Hat specialises in driving team engagement and productivity. we offer a team exercise called the “wellbeing Wakeup” that aims to help improve, what they consider, the Five Ways of Wellbeing: being active, getting creative, instilling connection, stirring mindfulness and engendering community.
5. Promoting PTO Usage
Though paid time off (PTO) is part of your employees’ compensation, they can often times feel nervous to take it. Remind your team the benefits of taking time away from work and encourage them to use their hard-earned PTO for a break. Sometimes employees need a little extra encouragement to give themselves the grace they need.
6. Advocate for Establishing Routines
One of the easiest things to go out the window when you start working from home is your morning routine… who needs one when you can log into work from bed? Everyone, actually. A morning routine is extremely beneficial in building your mindset for the day. Invite your team to create a new routine that helps them take care of themselves in the morning, so they start their day feeling energised.
7. Hold Engaging One-to-One Meetings
Ensure you are going beyond the surface with your people in your recurring meetings. Ask them how they’re doing, struggles they are having working at home, if they feel connected to the team, etc. With each question you ask your employees about their experiences, the more they will recognise you care for them, which can help improve their wellbeing and relationship with you along the way.
8. Highlight and Demonstrate Boundaries
Not only should you be telling your team to hold themselves to their schedule, and log off when their shift ends, but you should exemplify the same. Your team admires the professional you are, so if you show them a strong professional maintains work-life balance, they will feel encouraged to do the same.
9. Encourage Dedicated Workspaces
Though it can feel tempting to work from your bed every day, that starts to eat away at the feeling of work-life balance. As you are helping your employees combat work-from-home challenges, encourage them to create a dedicated workspace in their home, incorporating things that energise them and bring them joy.
10. Speak Optimistically
The word optimistically was intentionally used. Be direct and honest about the reality of the working situation. A spade is a spade, and false positivity will only erode trust. While doing so, you can use the opportunity to build community with your employees, openness to discussion, and optimism toward the future.
The Final Words
Working from home can be fantastic, and in many cases improve productivity, but that doesn’t mean it comes without challenges. With an intentional approach, you can help alleviate your employees’ challenges and foster engagement on your team.