If you’re used to seeing your team in person every day, you’ve become accustomed to gauging their wellbeing just by popping into their office or having a quick chat in the break room. You’ve probably implemented ways to prevent burn out and lift your employees’ spirits in the office – whether that be in the form of an exercise room, free snacks and beverages, or companywide trips to bars and restaurants. But challenges can arise when your team shifts to working remote. The need to ensure your staff’s wellbeing is of upmost importance at this time, and how you acquire this information will now change. Here are some tips on ways to check in with staff and to boost their morale while they are working remote:

  1. Schedule regular one-on-one check ins 

Once a week, schedule a virtual check in with each member of your staff using video chat. This may not be as casual as having a brief chat in the break room, but perhaps these times call for a different level of engagement. Ensure their work from home environment is safe and productive. Ask them how their work on a day-to-day basis seems – are they confused about what’s expected of them? Are they distracted by current events? Are they maintaining their health? Perhaps they’re afraid to approach you and admit that working from home has been difficult for them, or that they’re having trouble focusing. Keep an open mind and encourage communication so that these concerns can be addressed before they cause an issue.

2. Be considerate of changing schedules 

No matter the reason for the switch from in-office to remote, try to be considerate of a change in schedule for your employee. Maybe they take their lunch earlier or later, need to run out to pick up their child from school at 3pm, or can’t get online until 10am some days. If they are meeting basic guidelines you’ve put in place and are completing their work in a timely manner, tracking them from 9am-5pm isn’t effective. Studies show that remote employees need more frequent breaks, so keep in mind that if they don’t answer and email right away they’ve probably stepped away for 10 minutes to regroup. 

3. Coordinate virtual coffee meetups or happy hours 

The fun stuff doesn’t need to end just because your team is at home! Schedule virtual coffee or happy hour meet ups to encourage socialization among your team that’s NOT work related – maybe you discuss current events, your families, hobbies, etc. The first couple of these can be a bit awkward if you’re not used to them, so have some topics of conversation or even a game in mind. Encourage everyone to take their turn sharing their answers or thoughts so that everyone can engage. 

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4. Encourage office “challenges” 

Does your team enjoy working out? Maybe they all watch a certain show, have a certain hobby, or love to cook? Create a challenge around one of these and push your team to participate and track their results. For example, if they’re exercise nuts, put in place a sit up or push up challenge. Love watching a certain show? Create a trivia game around it. Encouraging the team to participate in these challenges together boosts their sense of connection. 

5. Give them shout outs 

If your team as a whole or certain members are performing particularly well or going above and beyond, give them recognition. Utilize email, social media, and even your website or blog posts to write a brief thank you. Whether they express it to you or not, employees can’t help but feel a sense of pride and gratitude that their hard work has been recognized.  

Just because the work environment has changed, doesn’t mean we need to sacrifice workplace culture and well-being. Whether this is a temporary measure, or your staff has gone remote permanently, these tips can be easily applied and maintained. Regular communication and the implementation of fun activities will ensure your staff is just as satisfied as they were when they came into the office five days a week.