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  • Hallie Moberg Brauer

How to support remote employees as the pandemic continues

March 8, 2021

Hallie Moberg Brauer

Associate Consultant

ADR Consulting Group LLC.

It is no secret that the pandemic has drastically altered the way many companies have had to think about work. From hybrid model work styles to utilizing new video conferencing technologies, workplace operations have taken a hard shift in the last year. Offices once buzzing  with people, energy and ideas, have now become ghost towns. According to a gallup poll as many as 50% of employees were working remotely at the height of pandemic restrictions in April 2020. And two thirds of those express the desire to continue working remotely. Many companies and organizations find themselves facing new challenges they hadn’t faced before when it comes to supporting employees' work life balance- keeping employees engaged, and maintaining a healthy, thriving workplace culture. Today, we offer a few tips on how to do each of these things as the pandemic continues. 

Tips for supporting employees work/life balance

For many, working from home was not a choice to be made, but mandated. Many families are juggling responsibilities and many employees feel like they now live at work, rather than work from home, extra support is essential. It is important for leaders to consider the following:

  • Be flexible and understanding. Trust that your employees are doing everything they can in their power to be as productive as possible. If they ask for flexibility in scheduling, be as accommodating as possible, and you will see a return on your consideration.

  • Leaders need to set clear expectations around boundaries. Leaders can and should encourage quiet hours, where notifications are muted, and the expectations around response times are lengthed, to try to ensure employees log off. And they should lead by example by not sending communications at unreasonable hours. 

  • IT and HR must work together. Creating a cohesive digital experience for employees helps to promote efficiency, communication and collaboration. Streamlining digital experiences can relieve unnecessary stress and help to keep employees on track.

Tips for keeping employees engaged 

While as many as 77% of employees cite higher levels of productivity while working remotely, keeping them engaged with each other can be a challenge. Keep doing these things to maintain engagement. 

  • Prevent isolation. Employees working remotely often have weaker relationships with each other- it is important to promote a “virtual water cooler” where people can chit chat, ask questions of each other and enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed way, in a digital context. 

  • Communicate well. This is essential for keeping employees engaged. Use video communication when possible, as much is lost when in person meetings become emails and body language cannot be perceived. Two way communication promotes engagement as well, allowing employees space for taking and giving feedback.

  • Give recognition. Going beyond a fair paycheck can do a lot to keep employees engaged. Offering positive feedback, sharing with groups when someone is particularly successful and encouraging employees to recognize each other keeps people motivated.

Tips to keep workplace culture healthy and thriving

If your workplace strives to maintain a strong and lively culture, then leadership must be able to adapt to the challenges of pandemic work. Prioritizing these things can help keep it as vibrant as it was in the workplace. 

  • Keep your mission statement present. Keep the goals and values that people are working to achieve at the forefront of your digital workplace, to keep company culture and motivation on track, even under challenging circumstances. 

  • Communicate how new practices align with workplace priorities. Chances are your company has already adapted to meet new needs, while keeping a progressive culture at the forefront- be sure to communicate these examples widely.

  • Encourage professional development. Continuing to provide opportunities for employees to grow and change can be a great way to maintain a positive culture of growth. Be sure to prioritize the opportunities for everyone.

The logical question to follow all of this may be- what will support look like as many people who have been remote for more than a year return to the office? We will be answering this question next month, on our blog. In the meantime, visit our website to find out more about how we can help your team manage a thriving work environment.


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