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Keeping Employees Engaged While Working Remotely (Even With Kids!)

The content in this post was originally published by Eastern Alliance.

Due to the temporary response many organizations are taking to have employees work from home or remotely, we would like to take the opportunity to promote the mental and physical wellbeing of all employees. It can be difficult when working from home or away from the office not to feel isolated and cut off. Some employees may even be feeling their health slip as gyms and recreation centers across the country have temporarily closed. Some employees may also be feeling anxious, afraid, or alone due to social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s important to remind these employees that even if their remote work and quarantine is only temporary, keeping up with their mental and physical wellbeing is as important as it has ever been. The mandated “Social Distancing” does not mean we have to be socially isolated, it is more about physical separation to avoid spreading the virus from person to person or due to contact with common surfaces. As employers, it is also important to continue to implement employee engagement practices for all of your remote employees, in order to promote interaction and to avoid isolation. Consider some of the following strategies to aid in improving mental and physical wellbeing, employee engagement, and employee productivity while we continue to monitor and work through the COVID-19 situation across the country.

Employee Engagement
• Have the management team reach out to employees daily to discuss projects and any difficulties they may be having with the transition.
• Suggest small talk between remote employees and management throughout the week to improve morale amongst team members.
• Be clear about expectations through regular communication to emphasize tasks that need to be completed.
• Have weekly team meetings, getting everyone in a group meeting allows a platform to discuss difficulties and successes.
• Encourage collaboration between team members, this can improve communication and a sense of togetherness amongst the team.
• If possible, hold video coffee meetings to talk about personal things and other items outside of work responsibilities.

Strategies to Offer Employees Working at Home with Children
• Set up a workspace in a bright room with a door you can shut. Parents with babies and toddlers may choose to set up shop in a child’s bedroom or play area to keep an eye on
them. Set up a dedicated school workspace as well.
• Split up child care if you have two adults working at home or an older child who can look after young ones for a few hours. Parents could discuss their work schedule the night before
to determine who is available and when.
• Plan a rough schedule for the day and include some time for fun and school work. More importantly, explain to children that you have work that must get done, and they can help
by giving you quiet time.
• Help the kids develop freedom and independence by learning how to entertain themselves with books, crafts, etc. Fill a snack basket so they can help themselves and not rely on you
for everything. Involve your kids in planning their schedule.
• Avoid multi-tasking by separating work and family time. Consider setting a timer for 90 minutes to keep yourself and your kids on track. They know you can’t be disturbed until the
timer goes off. To make it fun, promise to play a game with them afterward.