Many businesses have moved most of their workforce remote in the last year – and most plan to keep all or a portion of those employees working from home.
There are many advantages to having a remote workforce. However, one significant disadvantage that several companies are feeling right now is the inability to collaborate creatively when remote. To put it another way, remote workers that are used to being in the office are feeling a creative drought.
Two things contribute to this drought in innovation:
2. Difficulty in collaborating
In this article, we will address both issues.
How to Help Remote Employees Combat Burnout
Most employees want to work creatively and enjoy their workday. They want to complete their tasks and experience the satisfaction of a job well done.
However, that can be difficult when working from home. There are home-related distractions, and there is a feeling of disconnect from one’s team that is hard to bridge.
Here are three things you can do to help your remote employees combat the feeling of burnout:
1. Create a routine that keeps remote employees connected with colleagues
Even if your team works on different schedules from one another, staff can connect socially for a short time at least once a week. Set aside time every week for “water cooler” or “coffee break” time and allow employees from all departments to Zoom in, chat, and have breakout meetings and more.
You can also create a brief weekly or monthly company-wide meeting that is padded on the front and back end so that employees have a chance to connect and catch up.
2. Provide an opportunity for an employee to switch gears
Often, when we are burnt-out on a project, it helps to switch gears and do something else – then come back to the difficult work. If an employee is trying to be creative but feels themselves hitting a wall, it may be time to do something else. Ask employees to spend time organizing, begin to set up knowledge transfer documents, or attend a virtual walking meeting.
It may be easier to take a break or change things up in the office, but your employees can get a mental break when working remotely, too.
3. Give employees time to learn
Not only should employees be learning more about their job through webinars, conferences, and other training, but they also need to create time to teach one another about those things in which they are expert.
For example, ask your accountant to create a short presentation for the product development team. The topic can be anything about which your accountant is knowledgeable. It could be a presentation about fundamental math theories, little-known accounting practices, the origins of your company, or something else about which your accountant knows.
The above actions are simple, but these thoughtful actions can assist employees as they combat feelings of burnout.
How to Collaborate Remotely
Many of your employees miss the camaraderie they felt in the office. While it’s challenging the replicate that feeling without face-to-face interaction, they can still collaborate and innovate in a remote work setting.
Here is a brief “how-to” to help your employees spark creative collaboration, even when working from home.
Create processes and procedures for remote collaboration
We know it may seem silly to create step-by-step instruction for collaborating remotely. But the idea here is less to make collaboration a rote action and more to make it something so ingrained in the company culture that it happens automatically.
Creating such a culture requires intentionality. That is why building a process for remote collaboration will increase the likelihood of your employees actually doing it.
Put someone in charge of work from home collaboration
Collaboration and innovation are vital to your company’s growth, but it is not easy to do in a remote setting. So, give the task to one of your team leads or managers. Ensuring that a team member heads up remote innovation is another way of making it clear that this is a priority in your business.
Open up more lines of communication
Set up an open chat for collaboration, use apps like Voxer or Slack to allow teams to talk to each other at whatever time works for them. Creating spaces for remote employees to talk to one another is a wonderful way to spark cooperation and collaboration.
Provide time for learning and experimenting
This step couples with the “combating burnout” step of giving employees time to learn. If you want employees to innovate, they need to learn new things and try them out. Give them the time and opportunity to try their ideas. You can, of course, set limits on how much experimentation time one employee can take, and the project should be approved before attempted. But providing the opportunity for employees to learn and try new things allows for innovation. Additionally, it’s exciting to see innovations! Bring that buzz back to your business with this crucial step.
Collaboration and innovation can be done remotely. The best way to begin is to entrench the value you put on innovation into your company culture.
Are you ready to begin changing your company culture and bring back the collaboration that was once so common in the office? Contact Business Success Consulting Group today to get a no-cost initial consult and find out how we can help you.