CIRMA quick guide: staying engaged while working remotely

Let’s face it–working from home can be difficult. However, working from home during a global pandemic can be an all-out life-altering experience.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many public entities have transitioned to a partial or complete work-from-home environment. Not only can this lead to employers and employees feeling disconnected from one another, but it can also result in compounded feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.

The good news? As with most everything, even this situation has a silver lining. People from around the world are leveraging technology in unique and exciting ways to stay more connected now than ever before. People are being incredibly resourceful, identifying helpful tips and tricks to stay engaged while working remotely. These resources can help individuals cope with the added stress and anxiety that social distancing can bring. In addition to becoming a video conferencing pro, you can also incorporate a handful of daily, easy to adopt habits into your workweek to help keep you and your employees engaged and productive.

Five steadfast ways you can help keep your staff engaged and reduce anxiety:

  • Stay connected with communication and meeting tools.
  • Let employees know that you understand they may be feeling heightened levels of uncertainty and anxiety–make yourself available in the event they need to talk.
  • Recognize the potential impacts of isolation and loneliness. Whether you notice your teammate is not actively participating in weekly calls or sense that a direct report has lost interest in their work, be aware of any changes you may see in your employees’ personas, and team’s work efforts. These changes may be a sign that they need extra support.
  • Avoid micromanaging. It may feel like you’re losing control of your team during this time. As a result, you might try to control every part, however small, of your employees’ work or schedule. These behaviors can lead your team to believe that you do not trust them. Now is a time to show that you trust your employees by being flexible and empowering them with a sense of autonomy. A high-trust culture is essential in creating an engaging and productive work environment.
  • Offer new learning opportunities, including online training, to keep employees’ minds sharp; this can also serve as a helpful reminder of what their lives were like at work before the work-from-home order. CIRMA’s E-learning platform has a wide variety of topics available to all of our members and, in many cases, can help your employees maintain recertification requirements.

Here are some ways you and your employees can stay engaged and productive:

  • Create and maintain a routine and a schedule similar to normal work time.
  • Stay connected with not only friends and family, but with your co-workers as well. Meeting and communication tools are useful in personal and professional type meetups.
  • Take breaks in your workday to get fresh air.
  • Set work boundaries at home. Try to only work during “work hours” and limit your workspace to one area. Keeping your living and bedroom spaces for relaxation and home only activities.
  • Engage your support network. Your support network should include your employer. Share how you are feeling with them and keep them in the loop.

Maintaining a personal relationship with your team is a positive attribute to a healthy work environment and crucial in a work-from-home environment. The current climate has forced public entities to implement remote working conditions, which can lead to potential disengagement between employees and employers and increased feelings of stress and anxiety.

Remember, by practicing social distancing, you and your employees do not need to live and work in isolation. There is a multitude of resources available that can help employers keep their employees engaged, happy, and productive. By following these steps, you can help keep you and your employees engaged in meaningful ways during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

How will you avoid feelings of social isolation while working from home?

Check out these additional resources for more information on how to increase employee engagement during the Coronavirus Pandemic:

https://www.thehubct.org/single-post/2020/03/16/Coping-with-Corona-Mental-health-supports-in-a-pandemic

https://www.uschamber.com/co/run/human-resources/keeping-remote-employees-engaged

https://www.gallup.com/workplace/296528/leading-remotely-managers-need-keep-teams-engaged.aspx