How to keep employees motivated while remote working over Christmas
It’s that time of the year again, and it’s hard to believe it was a year ago since we last did this! While many businesses have had a very tough year, it’s time to come together as a workforce and celebrate all the successes you have achieved.
If you are based in the UK you are probably well aware that we are about to come out of our second national lockdown, and face tight restrictions in the lead-up to Christmas. If your business is anything like ours, you are preparing yourself for more screen time then you would have otherwise imagined over the holidays.
Many business leaders are beginning to ask themselves how they are going to keep employees focused and engaged over this period. Working from home is one thing, but doing that over Christmas with the kids off and potentially merging with two households is going to be another.
These are a few of our tips on how to manage your workforce over Christmas.
Recognising the strengths and the value an employee brings to your business is likely something you have already discovered over the last 7 months. Now is an important time to respect boundaries and demonstrate that you care about their wellbeing. While we would argue this is always important, working remotely over Christmas is going to be a test to the relationship you have with your team.
While many people are enjoying the benefits of working remotely, business leaders shouldn’t assume that everyone is content with the situation. If they haven’t been working remotely for a while, they may not have the space to work from home, or want to share their own personal space with family and work.
You also need to think about whether your staff are struggling to focus because they feel isolated. It has now been over 7 months since the World Health Organisation declared that Covid-19 is a global pandemic. While we are all aware of the effects of the virus itself, the Centre for Mental Health has predicted that up to 10 million people in England alone will need mental health support as a direct result of the pandemic – that’s 1 in 5 people.
With restrictions in place until at least spring, it’s important for managers to understand that everyone is going to react differently to the pressure working from home is having on them. Check in and engage with staff more often, and show them you understand their situation and help can be provided if needed.
A good work culture can be attributed to many successful start ups; if your company culture isn’t good, it makes your job a lot harder. The question is, is it still important when your whole company doesn’t work in the same room? The answer is yes. It’s going to take more work, but it’s very important.
It is not for us to say what your company culture should be, if you already have a successful business then you likely have a set of principles that you work from. Over the Christmas break it will be important to try and keep that set of principles alive. We will admit, it is going be tricky over a work chat but it will be worth it to keep your team motivated.
Another way to keep a remote team motivated is to offer incentives. This doesn’t always mean money (although it can), it could mean a box of chocolates for hitting a deadline or a mid-day mini game over slack – think about the fun people would usually have in the office and how you can move that into the virtual space.
Which leads us to out next point,
With Christmas restrictions announced it most likely means Christmas parties are off the table. This doesn’t mean we can’t see Janet dance on the table, or Chris take 3 too many shots – we just need to think about how people can embarrass themselves visually.
Think about how you can take your Christmas party online.
This doesn’t need to be just setting up a Zoom call for 4PM on a Friday and having a chat with staff for an hour. Use your budget to make Christmas gift hampers with a few drinks, send ingredients for cooking contests, and see who makes the best Santa cookies. There are lots of ways to bring the fun online!
Creating a good company culture in the virtual space is more important than ever. Many business leaders think that the hard work they put into creating a nice working environment in the office isn’t relevant when thinking about home working, but it’s more important.
If you have felt the struggles the pandemic has had on your business, think about how that has affected your staff. Make sure you take the time to check in over Christmas to make sure they are not struggling, or feel isolated.
It’s still Christmas after all.