As a result of COVID-19, businesses are rapidly adapting to the remote working culture. Business leaders have been challenged to overcome the remote barrier and keep up with the demands of their businesses. Being able to connect virtually with coworkers and maintain engagement has proved to be a challenge. Through this transition, employees are learning that work is not a place, but something you do. Learning how to best maintain connections and engagement in today’s world of digital screens and videoconferencing will ensure success in the future for your business.
Here are five tips:
1. Host virtual meetings and casual hangouts.
Connecting with coworkers on a personal basis and encouraging relationships outside of work will boost productivity. Hosting virtual meetings and casual hangouts will relieve stress on employees and allow them to relax with their coworkers. Some ideas for casual hangouts include Netflix watch parties, Tik Tok challenges, virtual comedy shows, happy hours and game nights. Keeping up traditions such as birthday celebrations and getting employees involved in fun competitions are effective ways to boost positive feelings about work and your company. Recognizing winners of the competitions during a company video call or via email promotes community and encourages company-wide participation.
2. Make sure employees feel heard and valued.
Instead of sending a text message or email, opt for video communication. Give employees a sense of belonging by fostering personal connections and checking in “face-to-face” over a video meeting. This works to replace the “water cooler” chat and fosters personal relationships between coworkers. Set up office hours for employees or clients to take advantage of your virtual open-door policy. Showing clients and employees that you care goes a long way toward deepening relationships.
3. Keep the lines of communication open.
Along with making sure employees feel heard and valued, keeping the lines of communication open is an integral part of being successful in an online environment. Pay attention to the virtual signals you’re sending and receiving. Messages and tone can be twisted over email or text, so be mindful of what you say and how you say it. A positive attitude from the leadership team goes a long way to motivate employees.
4. Provide clear expectations and structure.
Providing employees with clear expectations by setting goals will help smooth the transition from in-office to at-home work. Establish structure and do not let your team overwork themselves to the point of burn-out.
5. Encourage health and wellness.
Encourage health and wellness habits through proactive steps such as buying healthy lunches for employees and hosting virtual workout classes. Hold a step competition using fitness trackers and provide a prize to the team with the most steps in a given period of time. Provide employees with the opportunity to use a standing desk to reduce sitting time. Look out for coworkers by providing training on mental health strategies and create a company-wide mental health plan. How employees feel plays a large part in how they perform at work.
How the Institute for Defense and Business (IDB) is Adapting to Change
Working remotely and providing virtual programs is nothing new to the IDB. The IDB has offered various programs online over the past two decades to include former programs such as the IU-IDB MBA and Depot and Arsenal Executive Leadership Program. Both programs have evolved to current virtual offerings, such as IU-IDB Cyber Risk Management in a National Security Context and Innovation Consulting Workshop, along with many more. IDB also offers numerous complementary offerings, virtual webinars and leadership panels.
Web-based and in-person programs provide a unique learning environment where you tackle real-world challenges and hear both public and private sector perspectives to reshape the way you think and approach problem-solving. Through proactive restructuring of operations, the IDB rapidly developed and is executing a solid, high-quality virtual executive education capability, conducting and offering over 15 additional programs in the fall and early winter of 2020. The schedule for 2021 is shaping up nicely as well.
Is your business well-equipped to overcome the barriers presented by the virtual setting? Increase productivity and continually educate your employees by providing them with resources such as team manager training or IDB’s “Optimizing Life Cycle Management Cradle to Grave” program. Looking for specialized solutions and programs for your company? Contact the IDB.
About the Institute for Defense and Business
The Institute for Defense and Business (IDB) is a leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit education and research institute which provides custom solutions and programs for a variety of defense-related specializations. With over two decades of success in creating meaningful change, IDB seeks to train, challenge and inspire leaders involved in the defense enterprise. IDB’s curriculum promotes collaboration between the military and government, private sector and academia through courses offered in relevant, evolving subjects. Ready to enhance your leadership and advance your organization? Learn more about our courses in Logistics and Life Cycle Management, Complex Industrial Leadership and Strategic Studies.