The social isolation caused by the new coronavirus has radically altered the work routine of companies from all over the world, which were forced to quickly adopt the home-office to maintain its activities and continue producing.
In this scenario, many managers have faced challenges to keep remote employees healthy and engaged. However, some attitudes and strategies applied in the daily lives of companies can bring greater tranquility to face this delicate moment.
Flexibility of deadlines and schedules, psychological assistance, physical health care and regular breaks in the workday are some examples of these practices that can be adopted.
To help you deal with your collaborators in such a delicate and unique moment, in this article we will deal with the following points:
- The challenges of remote work;
- How to keep remote employees healthy and engaged;
- Post-pandemic remote work.
Read through to the end and learn about the best practices to keep your company’s employees healthy and engaged during the pandemic.
The challenges of remote work
One remote team brings some obstacles to the contributors and managers. We list here some challenges faced in this situation, so that you are already prepared, check it out:
Problems communication and understanding they happen even in teams and face-to-face meetings. Thus, it gets even more accentuated with a remote team.
However, it is important that this difficulty is not used as an excuse when solving a problem or circumventing a crisis.
Trust and responsibility
At first, there may be a small drop in productivity of employees unaccustomed to the home-office model.
However, the lack of confidence of managers at capacity of remote collaborators it can also generate demotivation. It is important to be careful when charge more performance employees in a delicate moment like this.
It is likely that your team does not have at home the same technology available in the company. It may also be that your employees are not in the habit of using technology for social relationships.
Thus, the manager needs to be aware of these issues and available for provide all the support and promoting the engagement of the team as a whole, especially those less accustomed to new technologies.
It is important to allocate a adequate space at home to perform remote work. An environment that is not prepared can bring problems such as distractions, parallel activities, concerns about situations outside of work, etc.
The absence of a suitable place for work can directly affect the productivity of employees, so it is important that this matter is dealt with by the entire team.
Even if possible, equipment must be offered for the employee to work remotely.
At first, it can be difficult for other residents of the house understand that the employee is working at home-office, and not off duty.
In these cases, it is important to work peaceful communication, so that everyone understands what interruptions should be avoided.
So that the team doesn’t get lost in the middle of remote jobs, leadership work is fundamental.
Even if from a distance, with each employee managing their own time, in this moment of uncertainty it is even more essential that the team has a coordinator.
To address these and other challenges, it is essential that managers create strategies to keep remote employees healthy and engaged with the company’s work and results. Here are some tips.
Keeping remote employees healthy and engaged
At this time of pain and doubts, it is important that the company is committed to improving the quality of life of its employees, in order to promote a better remote work environment and avoid declines in production. See some examples of actions for keep remote employees healthy and engaged.
1. Flexibility of deadlines and schedules
One of the best ways to decrease the stress of employees and promoting a healthier home-office environment is structure the service by activities, instead of having fixed schedules. This model prioritizes productivity and brings several benefits, such as:
- Increased productivity – prioritizing deadlines and limits for the delivery of activities collaborates with concentration and increases the productivity of employees;
- Elimination of delays – free HR from specific calculations for discounts with delays and overtime control and hour bank;
- Compliance with the law – a Law No. 13,467, of July 13, 2017, brought some important adaptations regarding work relationships, such as the teleworking scheme, known as home-office, which allows flexible working hours.
2. Remote psychological assistance program
At the home-office, employees are better protected against the new coronavirus. However, they are also more exposed to the risks of psychological disorders caused by grief, social isolation, crisis and uncertainty about the future.
But big companies are responding. According to research by Administration Institute Foundation (FIA), about 75% of the companies consulted developed psychological support actions for their employees style=”font-weight: 400;”>. Those who already offered the benefit saw the demand grow.
At Gerdau, the + Care program, which offers sessions with psychologists, social workers and financial advisers, there was a 30% increase in demand, according to Adriana Mansueto, technical manager for human development. “We had to step up our service and include online service“, She said to G1.
However, for Georgia Matos, a specialist psychologist at the Social Service for Industry (SESI) and coordinator of the mental health guide for businesses launched by the entity, it is not enough to just offer therapeutic consultations. Oftentimes, the employee needs to be heard by his own boss.
“Managers are not prepared to deal with personal problems and now they need to do this. It is essential to empower them to create a environment welcoming, in which people can share your personal difficulties“, Georgia told G1.
3. Encouraging physical activities and good nutrition
Another successful strategy is to encourage the team to take care of well-being in general, with physical exercises, good nutrition and meditation. All of this is possible to be done in isolation and brings several benefits to the work routine.
Until everyday activities getting up to drink water, opening some windows or going to the bathroom already makes the body move, the blood circulates better and the head is ventilated.
It is also necessary to stay attentive to food. Everyone who works from home knows how easy it is to simply eat something fast instead of preparing complete, balanced meals.
Encourage your team to exchange snacks recipes for healthier habits, with recognition and internal promotion of the best ideas.
In addition, it is important to keep a regular sleep routine. One of the biggest difficulties of working from home is paying attention to the schedule and organizing yourself to handle all the demands of the day. But a bad night’s sleep reflects on the performance of the next day and may not make up for it.
4. Breaks during the working day
With a tired brain, it is easy to lose critical sense, creativity and focus. To avoid this mental tiredness, is important include short breaks in the daily schedule. A five-minute break at the end of each hour of work makes a difference.
In addition to the psychological benefits, pauses allow the eyes to rest. Straining can bring about long-term vision problems, in addition to headaches, tiredness and irritability, all enemies of productivity.
In addition, when we stay in the same position for a long time, pain begins to appear in the body due to muscle shortening and compensations. Pauses, associated with stretching and exercise, relieve these pains and prevent more serious illnesses.
5. Availability of technology and internet
Often the employees of a company do not have high-performance computers in their homes or internet fast enough for them to carry out their activities with excellence.
For this reason, as has already been mentioned, making computers available from the company itself and with the costs of an upgrade in the internet plan can bring a big difference in the results of deliveries.
These new costs will not be a big problem for the company’s budget, as it has all the operating costs of the offices reduced or even zero.
In addition, with machines set up by the company itself, data security is almost completely guaranteed.
Post-pandemic remote work
Even before the pandemic, the market already had a strong trend towards home-office adoption on the part of companies, and this trend was strongly accelerated due to the conditions imposed by the arrival of the new coronavirus.
If the conditions for teleworking are still not ideal in most companies, the pandemic scenario has forced managers more reluctant to break cultural barriers against the home-office, for maintaining the functioning of organizations.
In this scenario, a significant increase in the adoption of the home office is expected as a standard modality for companies even after the end of the pandemic.
For André Miceli, coordinator of the Digital Marketing MBA at Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV), it is estimated at 30% growth of home-office in Brazil in the post-pandemic.
“This is a trend that already existed with a very concrete possibility of confirmation and that the pandemic has accelerated. Because it accelerated, we are seeing the movement going on in an unplanned way, with the unfolding of this lack of planning, as in the issue of security of home computers and companies ”, he analyzes, in an interview with G1.
Experts predict that there will be a hybrid model, in which the collaborator you will be able to work at home-office a few days a week, but you will have to attend the company for more important meetings and events.
This would be a way of balancing the advantages of remote work – such as the absence of daily commuting – with the most sensitive issues, such as employee engagement.
“What studies show is that the distance between team members affects how long it takes them to establish trust with each other. Trust is built not only by the techniques of work, but also by the social life”, Adds Miceli.
Structure makes all the difference
Improvisation, coupled with issues caused by the pandemic – such as the closure of schools and the consequent constant presence of children at home – undermines productivity in remote work.
For this reason, once the cultural barrier against the home-office is overcome, companies need to adapt to the new needs of this work model, offering the entire structure for its employees to work at home. Quality computer and internet are just the beginning of a new trend that is here to stay.
Prepare for the new times
The pandemic has completely changed people’s way of life in virtually every country in the world. However, challenges always come together with opportunities, and it is up to each manager to be prepared for the reality of the post-pandemic job market.
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