Before March 2020, the thought of working anywhere but an office was almost unfathomable. But once the pandemic hit, many companies were able to see that working remotely was an option. This allowed for employees to cut down on commute time, save money, and even live in different states. For some, this also allows for a better work/life balance and is their preferred way of working.
Even though work-from-home can be a great experience, employees who are doing so, whether it’s their choice or not, are still missing out on the experience of being in a physical office. They have no (or little) in-person communication with co-workers, they sometimes can be left out of or not be able to attend company events, and they may feel removed from the company as a whole. This is why it is important to support those who are working from home.
When it comes to supporting work-from-home employees, there are many different steps that can be taken to make sure they are still getting a personalized experience. Instead of feeling like just a profile picture who sends virtual messages to the rest of the team. Here are some steps to take to make your work-from-home employees feel as if they are right there in the office.
In this article...
- Encourage Employee Personal Wellness
- Team Goal-Setting
- Fun Virtual Activities
- Support Professional and Personal Development
- Celebrate Success with a Gift
- 1-on-1 Communication
- Provide Guidance as Needed
Encourage Employee Personal Wellness
A lot of times work from home employees may overextend themselves when it comes to being sick. Since they are already working remotely, they may feel like they can’t take the day off. They don’t have an office to go into, so they aren’t worried about getting coworkers sick or feeling sick and not being at home. When in reality, they should be putting themselves first.
Work-from-home employees who are sick should still take the day off. Even if they are at home, they should focus on getting themselves feeling better. Also, working while sick is counterproductive. Their quality of work will not be as good and may even create more work for them once they return. Make sure that work-from-home employees are taking sick days when needed.
Encourage work-from-home employees to take care of themselves. Pictured Signature Fortune Cookie Locket (Pink), Fortune Cookie Ring (Gold), Fortune Cookie Pearl Bracelet, and Polygon Lariat Locket (Gold)
Everyone should have a say in team goal setting. Not just the employees who are in the office. Making sure to include work-from-home employees in team goal-setting meetings is crucial. They are still a part of the team and should be included in the future of the company. Allowing them to set goals alongside the rest of the team is a great way to build up a sense of community between in-office employees and remote employees.
Even if they are not working from the same place, co-workers should still have a connection. This allows for better collaboration and teamwork. When everyone is working for the same goals, the work they are producing will be more efficient and of better quality.
Team goal setting can be a meeting that happens weekly, monthly, or before a new project starts. This way goals can be clearly laid out for everyone in a timely manner. In fact, if a work-from-home employee is able to travel to the office, an invite to the office to participate in an in-person team goal-setting meeting. This way there can be face-to-face communication while making these important goals. Although, if that is not possible, make sure that the team goal-setting meeting is over Zoom and cameras are on.
Fun Virtual Activities
All work and no play is never good for anyone! Chances are, employees who are working in the office are attending team-building workshops and events. Whether that is a team dinner after the workday or attending a local concert. Sometimes it may not be possible for remote employees to attend or it just isn’t reasonable to travel for one dinner. Because of this, fun virtual activities can be planned too.
Thanks to technology, there are so many different activities that can now happen virtually. Whether this is Zooming someone into a workshop or having a whole event, such as a virtual escape room, for work-from-home employees, it is doable. You can host this event for all of the remote employees if there are multiple, while still encouraging the in-office team members to join. It will be fun for everyone!
Fun virtual activities also do not have to be anything elaborate. It can be as simple as playing a short ice-breaker during morning meetings. A good one to get everyone talking is called Rose/Thorn. During this icebreaker, employees can share one thing that is going well and one thing that is not going well. This is a way to open conversation and also encourage community. Your work-from-home employees will feel supported because they are able to share their wins and losses while getting feedback.
Work-from-home employees should take part in fun virtual a - such as Rose/Thorn. Pictured Love Letter Envelope Locket (Gold and Silver)
Support Professional and Personal Development
Professional and personal development is important to all employees. They want to make sure that they are doing the best they can while challenging themselves. A job should allow an employee to develop professionally and personally. It should make them a more well-rounded person and encourage them to accept new challenges.
Even if an employee is remote, their professional and personal development should still be supported. They should still be given challenging tasks that allow them to test their abilities and show off their skills. They should receive feedback that allows them to grow. It may not always be all compliments, but if they never receive the truth, they won’t be able to learn.
Celebrate Success with a Gift
Nothing says “great work!” like a thoughtful gift. For work-from-home employees, this could be a great surprise that can be sent right to their houses. In order to make sure the gift is thoughtful a good idea is to make it personalized.
Depending on what you are celebrating, you can customize the gift to make mention of the event. For example, a personalized Sphere + Wand Locket is the perfect way to celebrate a work anniversary. Inside of the locket, you can place a fortune that reads out a specific message. You can include a note about the work anniversary or even the date.
You can also celebrate the completion of projects or small goals that the whole team has accomplished. Any personalized gift is meaningful and will show that you are supporting your whole team, both near and far.
A thoughtful gift is a great way to make work-from-home employees feel included and appreciated. Pictured Sphere Secret Ring (Gold)
1-on-1 communication is key. If remote employees are only included in big team calls and not having any 1-on-1 communication, they will feel as if they don’t matter. They won’t have time to ask any questions and get a clear explanation. The employee may also feel as if they aren’t as important to the company. 1-on-1 communication is a way to connect with someone. Of course, the employee always has the option to send an e-mail or a message over a team channel, but being able to hear someone’s voice and see facial expressions is extremely important.
You can plan 1-on-1 communication with your work-from-home employees in the form of scheduled meetings, or you can just do random check-ins. Whatever works best for you and your employee. If you feel that the meetings may slip, it’s better to have them scheduled on a calendar so that you make sure personal communication isn’t lacking.
1-on-1 communication can also be used to cheer up work-from-home employees. If they are having a rough time adjusting to being away from the office, a quick zoom call to help them feel like they’re a part of the team may do the trick. You can give them a virtual tour of the office and they can virtually meet the rest of the team. It’s a fun way to make sure they feel like they’re with everyone who is in the office.
Provide Guidance as Needed
Making sure that you are providing guidance to your work-from-home employees. Don’t get into the mindset that they are working independently. Everyone is still working as a team and just because they aren’t in the office doesn’t mean that they don’t need guidance. Make sure that your work-from-home employees know you are always available to provide assistance during the work day.
You may also want to check in on what they are working on throughout the day and send them a message to make sure that everything is going okay. Providing guidance allows them to stay ahead of the game and make sure that they are doing everything properly. If they don’t have any guidance, they could quickly fall behind.
Work-from-home employees need to be supported, even if they are not in the office. Supporting these employees is more than just a weekly call or including them in morning meetings. They should feel as if they are a part of the company and team.
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