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As the number of employees working remotely has increased during the pandemic, communication has become key to keeping them engaged.

Good technology, such as Slack, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Meet or Cisco WebEx, is critical for effective communication, along with ongoing conversations. Building rapport with remote workers, however, can be more challenging. Regularly scheduled time with employees will help everyone feel they’re part of the team.

Other ways to bring the team together include:

  • Organizing periodic gatherings for those who feel comfortable attending in-person meetings.
  • Holding meetings outdoors or in another safe environment.
  • Being creative and trying to plan something fun to boost morale.

Higher number post-pandemic

Nearly 10 million workers in the U.S. already were working from home in 2019 and that number is expected to be higher post-pandemic. Researchers predict that 25 percent of all jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022 and the number will continue to increase into 2023.

Some years ago, employers didn’t want employees to work remotely because they were concerned about a potential security risk. But the pandemic forced companies to allow some employees to work remotely. Overseeing a remote or hybrid workforce requires a different management style and employers need to embrace it.

To make connections with employees more secure, some companies are using virtual private networks (VPNs) on devices owned by the business.

Here are some other tips for keeping remote employees engaged:

  • Give them a clear outline of their responsibilities so they’re not surprised when you’re discussing tasks.
  • Touch base with them frequently.
  • Trust them: If you’ve given them the tools to do the job, trust your team to get it done.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recommends quarterly reviews to prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness among remote workers.

Technical support

Preparing for technical support also is necessary because more remote employees likely will lead to greater demand for technical assistance that could tax information technology staff. Human Resource professionals should work with IT to provide training and tools to enable employees to resolve issues on their own, according to SHRM.

Allowing employees to work remotely has advantages for the employer because it gives them more candidates in the pool and reduces overhead costs. The hiring process, interviewing and onboarding, for example, is frequently conducted remotely, although some companies still insist on in-person interviews for high-level positions.

Employees benefit from having a job with more flexibility and the ability to work anywhere. On a recent trip related to my volunteer work, one of the volunteers using his vacation time was told by his boss that the vacation was being pulled back. He was still able to travel as planned because he could work remotely.

Different tools for different folks

Different generations use different tools to maintain a connection with work-from-home employees, including email, phone calls, text messages and even Facebook.

If you need advice on how you can keep your remote workers engaged, send me an email at melody@melodybeachconsulting.com.

50+ Job Seekers workshops

The 50+ Job Seekers Networking Group’s workshops and bilingual workshops are free and virtual on Zoom.

The workshops for the remainder of May and early June are:

  • Thursday, May 12, 11 a.m. to noon: Savvy Seeker Series: Healing through Music. Stephen B. Martin, a member of the group Orpheus and a music therapist, will discuss ways to incorporate music into your life to reduce stress and improve your well-being and productivity. Register in advance at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEldO6gqTMuH92FvkYrbhIB4z5ToEyLMSHW.
  • Wednesday, May 18, 10 to 11:30 a.m.: Get to Know Age-Friendly Employers. Register in advance at https://bit.ly/387BuKE.
  • Thursday, May 19, 2 to 4 p.m.: Hiring Employer Event. Register in advance at https://bit.ly/3N1cZgU.
  • Tuesday, May 24, 10 a.m. to noon: Closing & Negotiating the Deal.
  • Thursday, May 26, 11 a.m. to noon: Savvy Seeker Series: Community Legal Aid. Attorney Thomas Hulley will discuss legal matters that affect older community members, and Community Legal Aid and their Pro Bono Unit offer. Register in advance at https://bit.ly/3FsEq0u.
  • Thursday, June 2, 11 a.m. to noon: Savvy Seeker Series: Overcoming Barriers to Employment. Cheryl Alexis, a Human Resource representative with more than 25 years of experience, will lead this workshop.
  • Tuesday, June 7, 10 a.m. to noon: G2G (Give to Get).

The interactive bilingual workshops meet from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesdays. The remaining workshops are:

  • May 25: Closing & Negotiating the Deal
  • June 15: Teamwork & Difficult People
  • June 29: Toolbox – What’s Missing?

Register here for workshops that don’t have a link: https://50plusjobseekers.org/outreach/registration/.

The virtual doors open 15 minutes before each program starts. If you have questions, email us at 50plusjobseekersadmin@mcoaonline.com.

My contact info

You can get in touch with me by downloading my digital business card by texting HRPRO to 21000 or emailing me at melody@melodybeachconsulting.com.

AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS

Melody L. Beach Consulting Group
Proud Member of
Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Webster Dudley Business Alliance (WDBA)
Webster Dudley Business Alliance (WDBA)
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)
PARWCC The Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches Woman in Business (WIB)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
BNI Referral Champions Worcester Chapter
Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
50+ Job Seekers
Massachusetts Councils on Aging (MCOA)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) of Central Massachusetts
Women's Information Network (WIN)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce

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Melody L. Beach Consulting Group, Human Resources, Southbridge, MA