The number of remote workers in Australia has grown significantly since March 2020.
Initially, the impact of COVID and lockdowns created pandemonium among employers and employees. Tech teams, HRD’s and senior management performed herculean tasks to keep productivity moving and teams connected.
Six months later, many employees are now starting to go back to work in the office full time, some a few days a week, some split their time office/home and others choosing the work from home option all together.
With three places of work, employers are now challenged to maintain communication, motivation, and productivity.
For Human Resource Director (HRD) and senior management this is all new territory, and many are still coming to grips in how to best manage the hybrid environment and reward and retain their employees through these uncertain times?
Will we ever see a return to the office environment? Or is the hybrid modality the future for workforces. At this stage we simply don’t know.
Either way, the challenge remains for HRD’s and senior management is to maintain and reward employee motivation.
To help, here’s 10 top tips for the hybrid COVID office environment:
- Reward being human: Using Skype, Zoom or Google meet to celebrate accomplishments and induce that in-office feeling with your team meetings. An idea for managers is to also schedule a 1:1, 15-minute chat with your team members every two months. DO NOT TALK ABOUT WORK. Get to know them as a person. Get them to talk about themselves, their interests, hobbies, fav movies whatever. Just banter. Not only will you get to know them better you will build trust and motivation as it shows that you are a human and you care about them!
- Reward Employees for Making Donations: If you find out through your 1:1 chats (or otherwise) that your employee donates a lot of their time to help others (eg SES, bush fire brigade, soccer coach etc). Give them a random reward. It does not have to be much, but it shows that the company recognizes them for their community spirit.
- Reward online team behaviour: Identify attentive, responsive, and constructive employees during online meetings/interactions and reward them for their efforts. Please note you need to tale a balanced approach to your recognition here as you can’t always reward the extroverts. Introverts need to be rewarded too.
- Acknowledge achievements on Social media: Celebrate your employees achievements / milestone events on your staff social media pages. Internal social media channels are a great way to keep the communication flowing in a casual way.
- Reward office modality behaviour: As each employee has by now chosen their mode of work (ie from office, office/home or just from home. Reward them for that. This is a big change for everyone. A positive reinforcement for their decision shows trust. The feeling of trust goes a long way with any employee regardless of their seniority.
- Take Prompt Actions to reward: Don’t wait until your next performance review for rewarding employee for showing their motivation. Again, the rewards don’t have to be of great value.
- Offer Professional Development Opportunities: Offer training and development opportunities to cope with the new work modalities. Allow your employees to sign-up for online courses through various renowned platforms. Send them books. Show that you care.
- Buy Them Lunch: Contact the nearest restaurant that delivers to your employee and buy them lunch. Obviously keep it under the FBT limit.
- Keep everyone updated: Arrange your CEO/company owner to do a 30 minute monthly live video (zoom etc) round up. Call out individual behaviour in these meetings. Recognition and reward from the CEO in a public forum does wonders for a person’s motivation.
- Offer Gifts Instead of Cash: Research suggests, gift cards motivate employees more than cash gifts. If you want to reward your team, present a prepaid gift card to give a quick boost to their motivation.