Engaging Remote Workers in Tumultuous Times
With the COVID-19 crisis going into its third straight month, workplaces have settled into the reality of remote working. It’s likely that your team has grown accustomed to working from home, developing routines and best practices that help to support their productivity and efficiency in this strange new working environment. By now, challenges associated with remote working have probably started to rear their ugly head - the biggest one usually being how to keep remote workers engaged during the crisis.
If you add to this the recent protests all over the country, it can be difficult for remote employees to stay focused and continue working as productively as they normally do. With the situation rapidly changing, it’s understandable that customers aren’t looking to be “sold to” at the moment, making the job far more difficult for your remote sales team. When you add in the additional stress and uncertainty we’re all experiencing, you get a recipe for an unmotivated remote team. Keeping your workers engaged but also supported can be a challenging task for even the best sales managers during good times, but with some careful planning and dedication, you can navigate this tricky situation.
The challenges faced by remote workers during uncertain times
With so many of us suddenly working from home without any sort of definite timeline, it’s natural that many remote workers are having difficulty staying engaged. Questions about when the crises are going to subside and when employees will once again be allowed to work from the office persist. Those questions, combined with the unpredictability faced by businesses of all sizes, can quickly cause employees to feel disconnected and unmotivated.
Job roles, especially in sales, have also been completely redefined. With so many more important things currently taking place around the world, customers simply aren’t interested in being sold to in traditional ways - it’s going to take something more compelling to grab the attention of customers in today’s world. Without the tools or guidance needed to adapt to these new customer expectations, your sales team can start to feel helpless. Without effective leadership to guide them, the risk of them becoming disengaged is high.
Use workplace technology to bring teams together
If this is your business's first time hosting a remote workforce, it’s likely that your employees are starting to feel some loneliness. Being part of a team and speaking with your colleagues is one of the best things about working in an office, and one of the things they’ll miss when working from home. The good news is that with modern workplace technology, there’s no need for your remote workers to feel lonely or isolated.
Using videoconferencing solutions like Zoom and Google Meet, you can easily bring your entire workforce together in a meaningful way. It gives you a chance to talk to your employees about wellness, listen to their concerns, and hear about the challenges they’re facing. You can also bring teams together by hosting games and activities, giving employees the much needed opportunity to connect with each other and talk about the things that matter most to them.
It’s recommended that you host regular group meetings where all employees get an opportunity to talk. From there, we recommend holding occasional one-on-one meetings with employees, where you can listen to and address their concerns, working with them directly to ensure that they’re appropriately engaged.
Communicate changes and plans to adapt
Your employees need strong leadership now more than ever before. Clear communication of upcoming changes and plans for adapting to those changes is the best way to manage your remote team and keep them engaged. The uncertainty that comes with a worldwide panic can greatly affect the morale of your workers, and so your team needs to be kept in the loop about every minor or major change affecting your business.
Strong, confident leadership in this time of crisis will help remote workers feel more comfortable with the current situation, and transparency will show them that you care enough to communicate clearly with them.
The “new normal” changes will need to be navigated by your business. Job roles may have to be redefined, and your employees will need guidance to help them get organized and acclimated to new responsibilities. This, too, will require strong leadership. Your teams will need to be given clear strategies to help them adapt to often rapidly changing job roles and customer needs - the less uncertain they are about the state of their job, the more they can focus on improving their performance and adapting to changes as they become necessary.
With anxiety levels potentially higher than just a few months ago, keeping employees informed as well as listening to their needs and offering flexibility will also help them feel supported.
Use business intelligence to recognize when employees are becoming disengaged
If you’re wondering how to best manage and keep remote teams engaged, it’s not enough to merely communicate with them. Not every strategy will work on every employee - there will always be remote employees who require extra attention during times of stress. In order to avoid remote workers becoming disengaged, you need to use the power of business intelligence. Having access to critical business insights offered by tools like Prodoscore will allow you to identify employees at risk of becoming disengaged, giving you the opportunity to intervene at a moment’s notice.
Prodoscore offers business insights in the form of a unique productivity score, allowing you to see how an employee matches up to other members of the team, and how they’re performing compared to their usual output. It integrates with CRM solutions, productivity suites like G Suite and Microsoft 365, and phone systems to give you a complete picture of their performance. After you’ve identified disengaged employees, you’ll be far better equipped to help them by reallocating work to other employees, meeting with them one-on-one to listen to their concerns, finding more effective coaching opportunities, and building a relationship of trust between you and your remote workers.
With the situation changing on a daily basis, keeping remote employees engaged is more important than ever before. Your teams will have questions that only you can answer and concerns that only you can address. With the right combination of clear and transparent communication, effective leadership, and business intelligence, you’ll be able to motivate your remote workers, address employee concerns head-on, and effectively intervene when you notice that employees are at risk of becoming disengaged.