How Managers Can Help Remote Employees Feel Less Isolated

Now that more and more companies are allowing, encouraging or even mandating remote work, it’s critical to make sure their workforce doesn’t feel excessively isolated. In pre-COVID times, telework was gaining traction in certain industries, but the curve was relatively slow and most workplaces had no policies in place to regulate the usage of it. Even if some employees had adapted to it, most were still used to physically being at work with colleagues and their management team, at least some of the time. With the speed at which everything has drastically shifted, people can feel destabilized. However, there are concrete solutions to foster increased collaboration and inclusiveness, even from afar.

The Challenges of Telework

A study by Harvard Business Review concluded that remote employees find it challenging to collaborate with others and that workplace politics are far more complex in this setting. They also report additional negative impacts such as a decrease in productivity and morale, difficulty in meeting deadlines and increased stress. On a good day, telework has its pitfalls. Amid a global pandemic where most employees are faced with a sudden and unexpected shift in their habits, it’s even more trying. Not only have people had to adapt overnight, they often have to do so with children at home, a lack of dedicated office space in their homes, and inadequate infrastructure.

How Management Can Help

When asked what skills managers could exhibit to successfully lead remote teams, respondents of the study identified key best practices. Above all, consistent, frequent and clear communication through the use of face-to-face technology was an important part of a positive strategy. By prioritizing relationships and remaining available, these supervisors formed personal connections with their staff by making time for a 2.0 version of “water cooler” conversations. No matter how society advances and modernizes, human interactions are still very much at the core of efficient work teams.

Incentive Programs — A Concrete Solution

If employees have had to adapt, so have employers. Many are left with a desire to optimize telework but lack the know-how to properly do so. One of the simplest and fastest ways to boost satisfaction and stimulate positive exchanges is to launch or reinvigorate a rewards or incentives program. It’s an effective team building exercise that can take the form of a recurring meeting where efforts and accomplishments are underlined. It’s the one thing employees can look forward to, where the tone is light and jovial and where the focus is on them as opposed to tasks. As we’ve explored in the past, the most popular type of incentive amongst the workforce is gift cards. Not only are they loved, they are also easy to administer at a distance.

Not sure where to start? Let us assist you. Crafting successful rewards programs using gift cards with management teams is our expertise. We’ll listen to your needs and recommend a tailored solution to help your organization optimize telework. Managers and employees alike will undoubtedly reap immediate benefits. We know—we’ve seen it happen time and time again!