It is safe to say that nobody could have accurately predicted the impact that COVID-19 would have on both our lives and livelihoods.
As we all know, the pandemic has caused widespread upheaval in our working lives - many teams are now facing an indefinite period of working from home, and leaders are still facing ongoing challenges with productivity and communication.
Of course, working from home isn’t without its flaws. And, while many will have settled into the working from home life, others may still be struggling. As we’ve said in the past, protecting employees’ wellbeing during this time will be essential to maintain productivity.
With this in mind, we’ve put together some of our best ways of improving communication methods between employees while everyone is working from home.
Establishing a new ‘normal’
Like it or not, virtual communication is the new normal - and, without regular interaction between teams and leaders, organisations will cease to function correctly.
71% of employees are now working from home as a result of the pandemic. With this in mind, it’s vital to ensure that teams have the necessary tools to collaborate with their colleagues when they are working apart.
It’s also worth noting that the procedures that were in place before the coronavirus outbreak will not be useful now. Gone are the days of sending a weekly email - you need to be able to ensure that your teams have access to factual communications and the guidance they require to continue working from home efficiently.
The Global Work-from-Home Experience Survey revealed that many (61%) of workers were equally as productive working from home as they would be in the office. By increasing virtual communication channels, and pushing for more informal chats between workers and their managers, employees should be able to feel like they are part of a team, even when they’re working alone.
Utilise the collaborative power of social media
During these times, social media can play a vital part in keeping teams engaged, while also lifting morale.
As our desire for social interaction has understandably increased, an increasing number of programmes have sparked our interests.
From WhatsApp group calls to Zoom meetings and daily Slack catch-ups, there is a range of programmes that have really come into their own as a result of the pandemic. And, according to a survey conducted by the Institute for Employment Studies, 83% of workers are maintaining regular contact with their bosses - up to five times a week - proving that regular communication really is crucial when it comes to working apart.
Remember, you are part of a team
Believe it or not, we have been in lockdown for almost seventy days. And, as there seems to be no end in sight to working from home, there is a risk that individual workers may start feeling disconnected from the rest of the team, or worse, totally isolated.
Not only can this harm mental wellbeing, but it will also hurt performance and productivity.
Thankfully, there are ways to combat this. By coordinating employees’ calendars, highlighting birthdays (or other events), or sending daily motivational messages, you can encourage your teams to interact with each other online, without it seeming too forced.
Here at MDA Training, we are continually developing our learning programmes to suit different working environments. Many of our services have been adapted to suit the needs of the remote workforce, especially when it comes to developing the skills of new hires, graduates, and interns. To find out more about this, view our online resource centre ‘LearningLab’.