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27 August 2020
Organisations have always questioned whether working from home is a good policy. However, almost overnight more than two thirds of the UK’s employees were working from home for the foreseeable future due to the pandemic lockdown, whilst nearly half (47%) having never worked from home before 1. With the pandemic accelerating the digital transformation of many organisations, and with more companies, including ourselves switching to an almost completely remote way of working until at least the end of the year, how then do we look to keep staff engaged as best as possible?
In my view, there are a few main principles that are worth noting:
Keep people updated – The key to success as a fully remote team is consistent, transparent communication. This is especially important as the coronavirus situation continues to unfold and change. Retain allows individuals on all levels to see exactly what is happening within not only their own schedule, but that of any member of their team; creating a complete and up-to-date picture of what is happening within the organisation.
Avoid micromanaging – For companies that are used to a traditional office environment, it can be tempting for leaders to check in constantly to make sure employees are on task while they're working from home. However, micromanaging your team will only instil a feeling of distrust. Therefore, engaging your remote workers starts with a high-trust culture which Retain could play a dynamic part of, by allocating people to projects and jobs, managers have visibility of what’s being worked on without having to constantly check in and ask for updates.
Help employees feel inclusive – This point is a natural progression from the previous one and builds upon how to better develop company culture in a way which makes employees feel inclusive with the increased trust they now have in their work life. Retain allows individuals at all levels of an organisation to have more control over their own schedule and workload. Has a project run over, and do we need to amend this? Do we need support from a manager? What are the costings looking like on this project? I think there are many questions which Retain helps individuals answer and allows them to feel a vital part of the organisations success.
Implement systems which support employee development – one of my personal favourite aspects of the Retain system, is how we have designed this in a way to support employee development. Whether this is from Retain Skills, where individuals have a full profile overview, with general information, skills, experiences and development goals, allowing employees and their managers to see their best qualities and what engagements they would be best suited for. Or Retain Marketplace, where jobs are advertised in an environment to allow individuals to apply for them to help support their experience and development goals. These are just a couple of points which once explored further can be a vital new tool for remote working.
Although, we all know there are many other ways of keeping employees engaged whilst working from home, these are some of the key points that I believe are most beneficial. This process is not only something we support clients with, it’s the way we have developed internally to support one another at Retain International.
Jack Ramshaw is a Resource Planning specialist at Retain International, helping organisations increase efficiency, reduce costs and increase profits. If you would like to find out more about how we could support yourself and your company, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0207 538 4774 to speak to one of our resource planning specialists.
1 Cass Business School, May 2020