An engaged, motivated workforce is vital to the success of any business, and a challenge to achieve at the best of times. For many organisations, that challenge has become more difficult to meet in recent months as teams that were previously office-based are now working remotely, writes Tim Walker, MD, Aura Technology.
Most analysts agree that even after the lifting of lockdown restrictions, there will be a widespread and permanent shift towards more remote working, as businesses have experienced the benefits of more flexible arrangements. A change in working patterns and culture will be an inevitable result.
Technology, particularly cloud-based systems that offer a seamless experience wherever the user may be, makes this change possible on an operational level, but can also boost collaboration, social interaction and staff wellbeing.
Here are some ways you can use remote working tools to achieve better communication, a happy and well-motivated workforce and increased productivity.
Working better together
With collaborative platforms such as Microsoft Teams, it’s easy for your people to share projects and documents, work together on files and share the input and feedback that would normally be found in the office.
Mobile and desktop apps that sync in the cloud make it straightforward to pick up and progress the same piece of work on the office computer, home desktop, tablet or phone while seeing updates and comments from colleagues.
Targeted communication also means that your employees can receive notifications around a file or piece of work when it’s time for them to work on it.
Distributing messages through relevant ‘teams’ and ‘channels’ means your people only receive the notifications that are relevant to them, reducing the stress of over-communication and keeping them focused on the job at hand.
Keeping the conversation flowing
Many of us have missed the office environment and especially the daily interactions with colleagues that were part of everyday working life. Let’s be honest, online chat will never be quite the same – but it can come very close.
Resist the temptation to see social chat as a distraction from work – interactions in Teams channels, apps such as Slack or even WhatsApp can help keep everyone feeling connected with each other.
Keeping ‘social’ and ‘work’ channels separate is a good idea – people who want to get their heads down can ignore non-essential notifications while others can let off steam safe in the knowledge that they aren’t being a nuisance.
Keep meeting face to face – when it’s appropriate
We’re all very used to video calls now, and there’s no doubt that we will continue to use Zoom, Teams and other video apps for meetings in the long term. Seeing colleagues face to face can lift the mood and help keep those team bonds strong.
However, remember that for some, the novelty has worn off and video-call fatigue can set in. Not every conversation has to be on screen – for a quick chat or catchup, a voice call or exchange of instant messages will do the job just as effectively.
Choose the right medium for the message and your staff will be happier, more productive and more likely to engage with video conferences when they need to.
Encourage personal growth
Employees who feel they are learning and improving are more likely to stay with you than those who feel stuck in a rut. Your company may have its own training programme, but for those that don’t, there is a wealth of information available through online courses and webinars.
It’s a good idea to work with each employee to identify their training needs and allocate time – perhaps two afternoons a month – for them to dedicate to learning and development. This could be through online research, watching a TED Talk, or taking part in a structured training course.
Keep your people engaged
When it comes down to it, keeping your people motivated and engaged is all about communication – and having the right tools to facilitate it. Investing in technology now will help ensure your business is able to achieve this communication, adapt and grow in the long term.
Contact Aura Technology
The team at Aura Technology work extensively in the mid-market private and public sectors, and are supporting existing and new clients through remote working.