October 9th kicks off National Work from Home (WFH) week. We're partnering with Logitech and to help celebrate, Fuze will be sharing a series of blogs throughout the week to offer advice and best practices on making remote work, work and enabling employees to work from everywhere.
The traditional workplace environment is transforming. Fuze’s recent Breaking Barriers 2020 report supports this, with a growing majority (85 percent) of employees noting that a work from home option is appealing. Another 83 percent saying they don’t feel they need to be in an office setting to be productive. With this transformation, managers are increasingly challenged with supporting teams across a number of geographies, settings, and time zones. Even seasoned managers can struggle to keep employees from feeling disconnected from their teams, distant from their organization, and disengaged from their work in this environment.
So how can companies and organizations best support and engage the growing number of remote workers? We decided to revisit some tips from a timeless Fuze post that continues to ring true as companies increasingly embrace remote work.
Ask questions. In today’s workplace, the question is the answer. Managers cannot expect workers to respond well to commands without first asking for input. Instead, they should learn to transform requests into questions posed to trigger action and greater accountability. How? The right questions engage the brain, creating stronger associations to the task at hand. For example, a simple question like, “What has stood out for you since we last talked about this?” can lead to a rich and often unanticipated review of a project or key learning from a specific scenario.
Strike a balance with good and bad. Research from psychologist Roy Baumeister found that people are twice as impacted by bad than good. To avoid letting setbacks hinder the success of a project, managers must address them outright and be sure to counteract critique with positive reinforcement of contributions from individual workers who may have gotten off course. As a manager, by being cognizant of balancing good with the bad, you can help focus workers on moving forward rather than looking back at past mistakes. This helps the entire team make progress and effectively collaborate.
Make it personal to each employee. While managing employees across multiple locations can be challenging, this increases the importance and value in recognizing and connecting with employees individually on a regular basis. For example, when you start a meeting, take time to recognize progress made as it happens – this will help to leave employees feeling engaged and involved. Given that 93 percent of communication is based on nonverbal body language, connecting face-to-face is also key to fostering a relationship with mobile employees. Video conferencing is a great way to do this when in-person interaction is limited. By incorporating video conferencing into everyday communication, you can ensure each team member is getting the face time needed to foster a productive and engaged workforce.
Practice makes perfect. Create a record of each meeting and make time to review (Of course, make sure participants know the meeting is being recorded). Reviewing collaborative moments helps managers determine strengths and development areas across a team, and also identify areas for improvement. Though most people don’t like how they sound or look when they begin to listen and watch themselves, reviewing performance can be an excellent accelerant to professional growth.
Consistency is critical. Maintaining a regular cadence of 1-on-1 meetings with your team members is extremely important. This allows you to ask questions, provide feedback, discuss the “why” of their work and to solicit feedback from them as well.
Do you manage a remote team at your organization? Share your tips for employee engagement with us on Twitter at @Fuze and using the hashtag #WFHWeek.