RPI is a thought leader in recognition practices. They developed the 7 Best Practice Standards
to help you learn about and develop your recognition program. Standard 7 is program change and flexibility. We are in unknown territory in the professional world. As conditions change every day, we have been forced to adapt our goals and expectations. One of the most important things to keep up with is the well-being of your employees. You can do this by maintaining human connection (remotely).
Humans are social by nature, explains Wired. Our distant ancestors hunted in groups for safety and relied on their communities for survival. As a result, we have a deep human instinct to communicate and interact with other humans. Now that many are working remotely, that instinct is not being engaged nearly as much as when we are in the office. We may miss the casual chatter of the office or in-person meetings, but here are some ideas about how we can attempt to maintain that human connection while isolated:
1. Set expectations to connect
Work has less structure now that employees are at home. While it may seem comfortable and at times fun to be working from home, it is important to maintain expectations for work to keep employees engaged. For example, Forbes suggests setting ground rules for virtual meetings to protect the little human connection there is. For example, this can be done by making a rule against multitasking while in meetings. It is tempting for many to do other work or check emails because their computer is right in front of them during virtual meetings. Putting emphasis on meaningful connection (even virtually) can improve human connection while not in the office.
2. Create social events
There have been many creative virtual events recently. Some of us may have participated in virtual birthday parties, bridal showers, or virtual races, as some runners did in Oregon. While they are obviously not ideal, Forbes suggests having fun with these virtual events. You can create virtual lunch breaks or happy hours. It will not be as easy or spontaneous as when you are in-person in the office but carving out this social time is important right now.
3. Foster some friendly competition
There are many ways to create some competition among employees virtually. Forbes stresses the importance of staying active while being confined to your home, so having an exercise competition could be a great way to engage your employees. One company had an “in-person-to-virtual-switch” competition where employees got points for doing things that they would normally do in person, but now are doing virtually—such as a cooking class, a coffee date or a virtual party. You could also have friendly sales competitions or compete on other tasks. Getting employees engaged with each other will help bring back the lack of culture you may be feeling right now.
4. Be positive
In the midst of a global health crisis, it is more than understandable if you have a hard time staying positive. Putting an emphasis on staying positive can help you and your coworkers feel more connected and engaged. Forbes explains that positivity has a ripple effect, so things as simple as a joke or funny video of the day can lift the spirits of many. You can also lean more into recognition practices. Shout out your employees in a daily or weekly email and encourage your employees to recognize each other. Fostering that team spirit with positivity will help you feel more connected.
For more support, check out RPI’s 7 Best Practice Standards.
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