How to help remote employees stay engaged
Higher levels of remote work have blurred the definition of business hours. But whether you’re working from home or still in your regular workplace, there are ways to clarify the line between work and home life.
posted February 26, 2021
We call it the blur.
It's what has happened to the regular work schedule we were once so familiar with. It's the reason we receive more work emails after hours. It's why we often find ourselves online after dinner.
Higher levels of remote work have blurred the definition of business hours. But whether you're working from home or still in your regular workplace, there are ways to clarify the line between work and home life.
Set and communicate boundaries
This looks different for everyone, especially for non-exempt employees. If you're prone to check your email late at night, consider silencing your email notifications after 6 p.m. If you have to work on a late-night email, change your email settings to send it during business hours.
This is especially true for managers and supervisors, who should consider the following:
• Communicate expectations: Are employees required to respond to messages or phone calls received after-hours?
• As a leader, do you set a good example by setting and keeping boundaries?
• PTO and vacation time are as important as ever. Encourage employees to take time off to disconnect from work.
• Consider using the subject line to communicate the urgency of your message (i.e. "Needs attention" or "non-urgent").
• Remind non-exempt employees to take their breaks, including uninterrupted lunch time.
Have a daily routine
Before the days when so many were working from home, most people had breaks and transition times built into the workday (the commute to work, lunch in the break room, the afternoon walk with a co-worker, etc.). While sleeping in and opening your laptop in bed may allow you some extra minutes of sleep, we recommend these tips for maintaining a good routine, which in turn can be good for mental health and wellbeing, instead:
• Prepare for your workday by getting dressed and eating breakfast.
• Schedule lunch and several breaks throughout the day for exercise and time away from your computer.
• Once the day is over, take a few minutes to turn work off — literally and figuratively. This time could include stretching, mindfulness exercises, or listening to music.
Create a familiar work environment
Productivity, both in the office and at home, is higher when employees feel engaged. Here are some ways to boost engagement:
• Check in or have coffee with colleagues through video meetings or phone calls.
• Establish a team message thread for topics that aren't just work related - think of it like a virtual water cooler.
• Spice up your weekly team meeting with a fun team challenge or activity. Some ideas include virtual scavenger hunts and team trivia.
For more information on integrating health and safety in the workplace, visit saif.com/twh.