As the country continues the rollercoaster of opening and shutting down, the workforce continues to move more and more towards remote working and flexibility. Employees and employers are having to navigate, evaluate and reassess business needs and working hours. The traditional American work day has been defined by the term “banker’s hours”. However, over the past few decades and even more so now, we see changes in companies. Whether by choice or necessity, remote work and flexible hours are here to stay. There are so many aspects to consider with remote working, but the critical question is how to keep everyone involved without being physically together.
Surprisingly, employee engagement in the workplace is actually UP since COVID-19 forced everywhere to shut their doors. Data has shown that organizations do have the resources to adapt in changing times, employees have shown to be flexible and rise to the challenge and employee relationships have been maintained through other means besides face-to-face contact. COVID-19 has, if nothing else, become an opportunity for organizations to stay ahead of the curve and find ways to continue company engagement.
Professional advancement was once widely considered to come from hands-on experience. It turns out, digital learning experiences are proving to be just as effective, and possibly even more efficient. While this may not always be the case and every industry has differences, it is encouraging to know organizations can provide more than one way of learning for employees. Online learning is making a huge impact and difference providing at-home resources not only in the workplace, but in every level as well.
Another key factor in improving employee engagement is through Social Media. Employees and employers have continued engagement through Social Media, company platforms, emails, texts and phone calls. Complimenting, uplifting, or offering support do not always have to be done through face-to-face conversations. Employers now have the ability to celebrate others online, through company feeds, or through email. This interaction helps take the place of company lunches, gatherings and provides the camaraderie needed amongst employees.
Many organizations had effective remote relationships prior to COVID-19. Various industries work with clients and customers in different time zones and countries, and do not have the ability to work in close proximity. The most successful of these have continued to develop and build those relationships through email, phone calls, virtual meetings, and more. Effective communication is the key to survive and thrive in the middle of such uncertain times.
One lesson to take away from this year is that we are all sharpening up our communication skills, whether that be verbal or written. Without the face-to-face contact we once relied on, we are having to sharpen our other forms of communication.