Keeping Your Remote Staff Motivated
Why Your Company’s Core Values Are More Important Now Than Ever
By: Patrick Carroll | President, PCR Business Systems
Like at many companies, much of my team is currently working from home. As an essential business our Akron, Ohio office has remained open throughout the pandemic, but we sent most of our staff home back in March to ensure everyone’s safety and to safeguard against a potential outbreak shutting down our operations completely.
Fortunately, we already had the tools in place to set up our staff to work safely and efficiently from home starting day one. However, what I’ve learned over the past few months is that if a business is to succeed with remote employees, they need to have more than just the right technology in place.
Businesses need their staff to continue to believe in the company’s core values and they need a leader who keeps the team motivated by keeping morale high. Everyone needs to work together, even though they may be miles apart.
… if a business is to succeed with remote employees, they need to have more than just the right technology in place.
Things were hectic at PCR Business Systems in March and April. Our clients were scrambling to get set up to work from home and it was on our team to help them keep their businesses open. We had triple the number of support tickets come through our help desk every day for several weeks, and I am proud to say that our staff handled them all with flying colors.
Over the first few weeks of the pandemic we helped over 2,500 Northeast Ohio employees get set up to work from home. We could not have done this without having an extremely talented and dedicated team. But I also think some of their success comes from continuing to believe in what we are doing—despite the uncertain futures that we all face.
Here are 5 things we have done at PCR to create a strong company culture, and what we are doing today to continue to keep team morale high.
1 – Education: Individual growth and learning are the keys to personal and company success. We keep our minds open to new information and new opportunities to better ourselves and our business. If a team member wants to further their knowledge and skills by taking a certification course or attending a seminar (or webinar) we encourage and pay for it. We want our team members to grow their own careers as we grow our business.
2 – Transparency & Communication: As any SMB owner will tell you, this experience has been beyond stressful. No business owner was prepared for this. But no employee was either. That is why it is so important to communicate openly with your team. You want your staff to be able to focus on doing their jobs today, not wondering if they will have one tomorrow.
Every week we have a video conference where I keep everyone up to date on everything from the status of loans we applied for, to what clients may not be able to pay for services right now.
Not everything will be good news, but up-front communication is paramount to keeping the trust of your staff and allowing them to limit distractions.
3 – Promoting Health: Working from home can lead to bad habits that may not otherwise occur in an office setting. Workers have easy access to snacks and junk food, and there is always that temptation to work from the couch while streaming NETFLIX in the background.
To keep our staff healthy and working efficiently we had everyone take their ergonomic workstations home to make sure they can work comfortably. We also encourage staff to exercise and to get up from their desks often and go outside for some fresh air. Last month we hosted our own May Movement Challenge, where 24 members of our team and their families logged 351 hours of physical activities for the month of May!
4 – Having Fun: To reward our team for the hard work they did getting Ohio employees set up to work from home, we hosted a virtual happy hour. We gave everyone money to buy takeout for their families from their favorite local restaurants, then we hopped on a video call to share some laughs and to take a mental break from everything going on.
While video conference meetings have become the new normal for many of us, it’s important to keep some of these calls fun and light with the focus on how your staff and their families are doing outside of work. This will help keep the bonds between your team members strong.
5 – Saying Thank You: A simple “thank you” goes a long way. It can be a difficult adjustment working from home and not being around co-workers at the office. Acknowledge the hard work your team is doing in these difficult times and let them know that you truly appreciate it.