The government-imposed isolation and social distancing measures are having myriad effects on the UK workforce.
Some companies have furloughed their staff, while others are returning to adapted workplaces. Many have adapted – or adapting – to their own home working spaces,
Her Congleton-based telemarketing company aims to be a ‘remote arm’ of its clients – training sales teams to secure crucial meetings. With this in mind, the whole Toucan team are used to engaging with people remotely.
How should employers overcome the key challenges of maintaining morale, motivation, and engagement in these challenging times?
“Communication, structure and empathy are the best places to start,” says Paula.
“My advice would be to talk, talk, talk to people!”
“It is a huge concern for business owners, especially if they have team members with records of ill mental health. Isolation takes its toll on us all, so it’s up to us to keep in contact with our teams.”
Start Your Day Right
“Maintaining a structure is the best way to keep your remote workers motivated,” Paula suggests. “While the home will never be an exact replica of the office, technology allows us to carry on our meetings as usual.”
“Start every day with a video call, using a tool like Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts. That way everyone is up, dressed, and ready to accomplish their goals for that day.”
“These meetings can also be one-on-one catch-ups – whatever would best mimic your office environment. They give teams a schedule to follow and can help them remain organised over this changing period.”
The whole nation is letting out a collective groan with communications tools right now.
“Agree on a method of communication with your teams, and stick to it,” Paula says. “This may include some remote training, for example links to how to download Zoom or set up webcams, but it will save hours in the long run.”
“The last thing we want to do is lose the message in a jumble of communication streams. Don’t mix email, phone calls and video conferencing. Decide one method amongst yourselves and stick to it.”
” You can even record video calls so there’s always a record of what was agreed and when.”
“With some teams cutting working hours or dealing with client losses, your remote workers may find they have more time on their hands,” continues Paula.
“One of the best ways to keep employees engaged is to encourage personal development and, where possible, we should use this time to build up our skills for long-term resilience”
Paula Bates, Toucan Telemarketing
“There are tons of resources out there – particularly people looking to promote themselves with free webinars.”
“By learning new skills, we can emerge from this stronger,” she adds.
Paula concludes with a key pointer about work life balance.
“Just because we can connect 24/7 now, does not mean that managers should use this as an excuse to pester their staff at all hours.”
“Respect your employees’ need for downtime, and they’ll continue to be refreshed time and time again.”
HR Aspects Magazine thanks Paula Bates for her contribution.