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5 ways leaders can empower remote working staff

Business leaders who have transitioned to a remote workforce feel like something is missing. After a prolonged period of working from home, many employees feel lonely and disconnected from a larger purpose

A morning coffee meeting with the team over a video call is a perfect way to kickstart a productive day Giving away weekly or monthly prizes to high performers builds morale and enthusiasm Tools like Slack are where employees can share their interests, experiences

By Gerhard Hartman, Vice President: Medium Business, Sage Africa & Middle East

Over the past year, many businesses and their employees were thrown head-first into the world of remote working for the first time. Some employers found this new approach has enabled them to reduce operating costs and increase productivity. Meanwhile, many employees enjoy the flexibility of their new working arrangements.

Yet, some business leaders who have transitioned to a remote workforce feel like something is missing. After a prolonged period of working from home, many employees feel lonely and disconnected from a larger purpose. This is all about culture and morale, and how they are developed within the office environment.

Business leaders work hard to create an organizational culture, as it plays a central role in attracting, retaining, and developing talent. Before COVID-19, remote work wasn’t commonplace, and company culture was built through face-to-face contact. Although not all elements of the office experience can be replicated in a remote world, there are several things companies can do to sustain an organizational culture in the era of remote work.

Here are 5 ideas about how managers can empower staff to connect and share ideas.

Daily video coffee talks

A morning coffee meeting with the team over a video call is a perfect way to kickstart a productive day.

Printable activities

Working from home when schools close for holidays or lockdowns can get a little crazy. Offering printable books with activities like coloring or scavenger hunts is an excellent way to show appreciation for parents in the workforce. In addition to giving the little people ‘work’ to do, it can be fun for everyone to show off their children’s artwork to each other.

Offering small incentives 

Giving away weekly or monthly prizes (gift cards, chocolates, etc.) to high performers and those who go the extra mile goes a long way in building morale and enthusiasm.

Slack channels

Tools like Slack are great for building remote communities where employees can share their interests and experiences. One idea is a wellness channel, where team members can share mindfulness tips, at-home workouts, and new recipes to try. Another is a movie and TV channel, where they can chat about what they’re watching, and recommend shows and films to each other.

Water cooler channels

An all-day Google Hangout or Teams channel, where people can come and go when they need a break from work and want to socialize, promotes informal networking and bonding.