How do I ensure my team is engaged working from home?

Friday April 3 2020


By Caroline Mboijana

I’m a senior manager and like many employers, we’ve had to adjust the way we work with all my team having to work from home. One of the challenges I foresee is how to ensure team members are engaged and committed to delivering work. As a manager what can I do? Amy

Dear Amy, our definition of work is changing and how we manage “work” is going to shift. The new normal is to embrace remote working and teleworking as the norm rather than exception. What hasn’t changed are the principles associated with employee engagement namely: ensure clarity of expectations both what and when; provide a platform for employee voice: and introduce interventions that align personal and organisation values. In all of this we must also remain focused on making sure everyone contributes to the organisation’s mandate and goals. Make sure you’ve clearly communicated goals and objectives, providing clarity of expected deliverables. You’ll need to engage your staff so they participate in decision making, especially in those decisions that impact them.

Demonstrate you understand how this change affects them by introducing a flexi working policy that helps them balance their family needs versus work needs. You’ll need to negotiate an agreement with staff. Be mindful not all staff have the same family structures so be flexible as much as possible. A critical part of employee engagement is listening to your staff, providing “employee voice”.
You may want to introduce an email where staff can provide feedback on the benefits or challenges associated with working from home. It’s equally important you address these challenges as best you can. This is very important, with limited physical contact, staff must be reassured that you “get them”. The final way to drive employee engagement, provided funds are available, is consider their “family shopping basket”.

Are you in position to provide additional funds to help them in this period where the basic needs of their family are front and centre in their mind? All of these are possible solutions which will go a long way to address one’s immediate fear, we are human after all. Once these fundamental needs are met one’s attention can focus on making sure they’re engaged and productive.

Caroline Mboijana
Managing Director
The Leadership Team (U)