12 useful strategies to distinguish your company in teleworking

Motivating employees and attracting new ones into teleworking is not easy. We will share with you some of the best-known practices observed in Quebec companies.

The pandemic has caused a significant number of companies to adopt full teleworking. Many managers thought this was what employees had longed for and believed they would be thrilled.

However, this is not quite the case. There are many advantages to teleworking, but there are also many disadvantages for both the employees and the company. The feeling of loneliness, isolation, and lack of motivation are some of the biggest challenges.

Here are some of the statements we hear more and more often from managers who are teleworking:

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We no longer have those little casual moments, when colleagues laughed at the coffee machine and were happy to be part of the team. Contacts have become very formal.

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I struggle to determine whether I communicate enough with my employees. I have very little feedback. Am I communicating too much, not enough, just enough?

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I am increasingly concerned that our employees' sense of belonging is fading. They are at home and being contacted by our competitors. What used to retain them may not retain them in the long run.

You probably experience similar challenges. We have gathered a list of easy ways to redefine your work environment, which is now increasingly virtual. Maintaining motivation in teleworking is essential, and it can be fragile.

Virtual Funny Moments at Metro Headquarters

At METRO’s headquarters, the Talent Acquisition team has set themselves the goal of maintaining fun moments despite teleworking. When the team meets virtually, they start with small games. These may be calculation games or “Find Charlie” type games. These games help to relax the atmosphere and start the meeting in a fun and pleasant way.

Occasionally, meetings start with an unusual question, such as: “What color is your mood today?“. Team members then share some little anecdotes that add colors to their days.

The goal is simple: to allow informal moments to maintain a healthy team spirit and cheer together.

For example, you could ask short riddles at the beginning of the meeting, have the Daddy’s Joke of the Day, or play a game of Seven Differences. A 5 to 10-minute game that reconnects you with your colleagues and motivates you, even when you’re teleworking.

Recognition Practices at Nexus Innovations

Nexus Innovations is a company that consistently positions itself as one that puts its employees first and applies the belief that by promoting employee wellness, you promote the well-being and growth of the company.

1 A most sincere surprise at home

To recognize employees’ efforts and hard work surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, Nexus’ managers took the time to select a simple yet inexpensive gift that would truly delight employees. They chose a recipe book of cocktails and mocktails, which was accompanied by a well-personalized card.

Each employee received, as a thank-you note, the recipe of his or her personality. For example, 1 oz of dark humor, 3 oz of energy, 1.5 oz of charisma, etc. Altogether, delivered in person by the manager.

2 The Mother’s Day card… to employees’ spouses!

A Mother’s Day card was sent to the spouses of fathers at Nexus. It read: “Thank you for taking care of your 2nd baby!” with a picture of the employee, whose body has been replaced with a baby body.

3 Recognition Sessions

Each monthly corporate meeting at Nexus ends with Kudos (praise, thanks, or congratulations). Everyone is encouraged to share a good move or any other positive comment about a colleague. These meetings end in an outburst of spontaneous recognition! These moments have a domino effect. When a Kudo is launched, many follow, and it becomes difficult to stop and conclude the meeting!

Moreover, the energetic Claudia Lépine has reported on many of the excellent initiatives that have been carried out internally since the beginning of the health crisis. Take a look at some of our favorites: “The Wellness Squad,” “Kids, let’s get to work too! “and “Let’s move together.”

Recognition at Desjardins

At Desjardins, the Director Support and Network Management team members are either teleworking or working alone in offices located throughout Quebec. Their work involves frequent travel, and their tasks are relatively autonomous from one another. This is why Meyranie Gravel-Labelle, the team’s director, has been creative and has created different ways to offer personalized recognition to her employees. 👏👏

She does not hesitate to put her team forward, which inspired us the most in her managerial skills.

I am a manager who helps my employees grow, just as I am a mother who helps my children grow. For me, the happier they are at work, the more successful I am as a leader.

I am pleased to see that these attentions are so much valued; I am always so surprised to receive a phone call or a picture of the card they received as a way for them to say “thank you.” It’s heartwarming!

Meyranie Gravel-Labelle

THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE VIRTUAL MANAGER

Employees cannot see you, but they must know you are around!

Having a manager available motivates employees because they will feel they can count on you, even when they are teleworking. For some people, it is even considered to be the backbone of a manager’s job and leadership, which goes far beyond technical skills and knowledge.

As a manager, here are some ideas that will allow you to be closer to your team, even remotely:

  • Pay attention to employees who communicate less.
    Keep in touch with everyone, so they don’t feel forgotten or isolated. For example, the more introverted may not always interact in meetings when the whole team is together. Still, in one-on-one meetings, they will appreciate you consider their opinions and are interested in them.
  • Consider everyone’s preferences to maintain bonds.
    Use different communication media, such as instant messaging, phone or video calls, group messages, etc. Find out what works best for everyone. For example, the more outgoing will feel more compelled to communicate only by email. They will feel that they are not getting their ideas out properly and that it is not as effective as talking to each other verbally.
  • Plan brief, recurring meetings.
    You should communicate with each employee several times a week, even if it’s only for a few minutes. It is most important to maintain regular contact. If you do not have a subject related directly to the employee’s tasks, talk and catch up; ask how the telework is going for them, and if they anticipate any upcoming issues in their work. Explore what new tasks they would like to do in the future or what career challenges they would like to take on in the next few years. Be interested in them and take advantage of these opportunities to discuss matters that you did not have time to discuss together.

THE RELATIONSHIP Between Colleagues While Teleworking

The social aspect is a crucial motivational element at work – and even in teleworking – because the more people collaborate, the more satisfied they feel at work. However, it is also a bigger issue in teleworking collaboration.

Therefore, the feeling of belonging is important. It is important to maintain and strengthen this team spirit to support virtual collaboration among employees.

As a manager, be attentive and offer moments that allow employees to maintain bonds as if they were in the office. What’s really important is to maintain frequent contact that shows employees their colleagues are available even virtually.

1 Frequent Team Meetings

Frequent meetings will allow the team to meet virtually, at the usual frequency, or more often than if they were physically in the office. Meeting frequently is the first step towards a sense of team belonging and is an essential foundation for virtual collaboration:

  • Hold weekly virtual team meetings to communicate about the company or the team tasks’ progress. Remind employees of what they can achieve as a team, emphasizing collaboration between employees to reinforce it.
  • Privilege a meeting that includes a round-table discussion where everyone can share their current or upcoming tasks. This ensures that people stay within the group and do not feel less involved or concerned by these meetings.
  • Encourage collaboration and mutual assistance when someone seems overloaded or may soon be overloaded. Ask employees if they could benefit from someone’s help in the next few days or weeks. Anticipate difficult times and find opportunities for the team to work together.

2 Different Types of Informal Meetings

To go even further, be aware that a strong feeling of belonging is best conveyed through informality. Find ways to create and maintain spaces and forums dedicated to informal exchanges, which will allow employees to feel that they are part of the team and that the team’s atmosphere is equally enjoyable from a distance:

  • Create a new group instant-messaging discussion to share good news or chat as a team asynchronously. Make sure you maintain a certain level of activity to make the team interacts daily.
  • Schedule videoconference dinners a few times a month, so employees can take lunch breaks together just like they would at work, but via videoconference.
  • Set up online coffee breaks to allow employees to take a few minutes off work and get together to talk and stay connected.
  • Take some time on Fridays to discuss weekend projects and allow employees to propose new activities to their colleagues.

These are just a few ideas. They do not require a lot of team time, and they are great for socializing. Ultimately, they motivate employees to work more as a team, as they feel closer to their colleagues.

The idea is to reduce the employees’ loneliness when teleworking, prevent them from feeling excluded from the team or be forgotten. Strengthening the feeling of belonging to the team keeps a trusting atmosphere among colleagues, and one feels like collaborating with people one trusts.

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