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Julia Hammond
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Keeping Employees Engaged: Working from Home and in the Office

While some businesses prepare for a return-to-office, the isolation period of COVID-19 has proven that employees can work just as effectively from home as they can from a physical workplace, without sacrificing results or productivity. As with all work health and safety matters, it is important that no matter where your employees are located, they have a good workstation setup to allow for an ideal working environment.

Gearing up for this new age of work arrangements, it’s important that businesses prepare themselves to accommodate a flexible work pattern to effectively engage their employees and minimise disruption between those in the office and working from home. Here are some tips to help your business build a flexible work setup – both at home and in the office.

Make the move to virtual meetings

One of the biggest complexities of remote working was how meetings both internally and client-facing could be conducted while operating from a distance. Fortunately, the availability of online networking platforms such as Microsoft Teams has meant that scheduled meetings were able to proceed uninterrupted.

To facilitate meetings across all workplaces and varying client arrangements, consider shifting all of your meetings online to accommodate all parties and maximise productivity on unnecessary commutes and booking times.

Secure and share the network

The key to all online communication and workplace efficiencies is a secure network to operate from. As many businesses were thrust into remote working from social distancing, the security of workplace technologies was threatened by personal devices and networks.

To minimise downtime and ensure both those in the office and those at home can seamlessly access resources across a blended environment, configure your network with a secure VPN so no matter where your employees work from, the company’s security protocols remain active.

Engage your team on a social level

With many businesses preparing for a remote and digitised workforce, it can be easy to forget some of the core principles that are missing from everyday work in an office-space. Employees have core social, physical, and mental needs, and with studies showing a direct link between social wellbeing and productivity, it’s in a business’ best interest to retain these relationships.

Without micro-interactions by the water cooler or during lunch, block out ‘downtime’ that allows you and your employees to engage on a social level – even via Microsoft Teams. Where possible, in blended workplaces which are split between physical and remote workers, carve out some time to meet semi-regularly in person to maintain team solidarity and overall effectiveness.

Enrich your communication

One key learning from the COVID-19 pandemic and its ‘soft reset’ of ingrained business structures has been re-evaluating the importance of meetings. The number of formalised meetings can sometimes exceed the effectiveness of work time and instead run counter-productive to reducing time spent on tasks.

Critically evaluate meetings you place in the diary – is it really the best format to have this conversation? Does it require a deeper discussion, or can it be discussed briefly over email or better yet a quick phone call? Choose an appropriate communication mode for the task and utilise the number of communication tools at your disposal in instant messaging, video chat, email, physical meetings, and briefings to minimise the time you spend preparing, and maximise your overall output reaching employees effectively and efficiently in-home and in the office.

Prepare your business for a new world of online success

The fundamental factor of a successfully blended workplace team is, put simply, the ability to replicate experiences and register employees’ needs in a multi-platform environment.

For your remote teams, tend to the same needs as you would in the office – host regular one-on-one conversations and check-ups in an online environment, be open and transparent in communicating leadership updates, and promote a healthy work-life balance to mitigate disconnect and feelings of disconnect from a remote environment.

Similarly, for in-office employees hold regular training sessions to upskill technology usage, ask for feedback on practices and routines, and make time to establish team expectations to further foster their development beyond the boundaries of the four office walls.

Setting up your business for a bright future

With the restrictions in Australia easing slowly but surely, a return to some form of regular business operations is on the horizon. Whether your business is ready to return or you’re wondering what the best path forward is, WME are ready to collaborate on your goals. With expert teams in SEOPPCSocial, Design and Content – we can tailor a marketing strategy that works best for your business. Let’s build a bright future for your business. To get started, call us on 1300 663 995 or submit a message online.

By Julia Hammond

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