Employee Engagement While Working From Home

Introduction

In a normal work setting, an employee interacts with many people throughout the working day in the organization. These interactions not only keep her motivated but also fulfil her social needs of interacting with other human beings. Humans are social animals and love to remain in communities to feel connected with the world around them.


In today's time when companies choosing for shifting their workforce at their home for work, a new problem emerges, How to make employees engage? When a manager and an employee interact in the offline world, the manager makes sure that employee is working towards achieving the organizational goals. The manager, from time to time, keeps the employees on track


In the offline world, an employee interacts with her teammates, go on snack breaks together, enjoy lunch together, and engage with each other throughout the day. If this interaction can be eliminated, an employee can feel disconnected and can drift away. These are the problems an organization needs to deal with in an era of work from home.


Human relationships developed in cyberspace, people give the same time and employ the same level of efforts for them as they develop in the offline world [1]. If humans spend the same time on relationship in both offline and online world, managing people in a remote environment is not going to be something which cannot be done. New employees who will join the organization will be able to develop the relationship just like in an offline office environment.


A manager needs to spare some time every day for one on one meeting which an employee book in advance.


1. Interaction between manager and employees

1.1. Daily morning meetings- Major number of companies in Japan perform 朝礼 (Chorei). It is a morning daily standing meeting in which everyone in the team discuses task of the day and usually headed by the manager of the team of the department. When people will be working from home, companies can accept this Japanese practice to increase the interaction between manager and employees. In this meeting time, the manager can distribute tasks and can listen to the issues which employees are facing.


1.2. One on one interaction [1]- When work is to be discussed in morning meetings, there is no time left to discuss the individual issues of an employee. A manager needs to spare some time every day for one on one meeting which an employee book in advance. Not more than one interaction is allowed in a week for one employee who will leave time for everyone in the team to interact with the manager.

Human relationships develops the best when it is exposed into different spaces.

2. Interaction within the team

2.1. Innovative tasks- When the team members will only interact with each other for work-related tasks; the deeply human need will get neglected. The need to interact with other humans beings. If the company or manager can come up with tasks which require team members to interact among hem other than the work-related task, it will fulfil the social need of interaction.


2.2. Monthly/Quarterly Team Outing [2] - Human relationships develops the best when it is exposed to different spaces. A relationship which is developed in cyberspace moved into different space of the offline world, it will not only give a different perspective to the people involved in a relationship but this new space of offline world will give another space to grow a relationship among the people involved.

When a team outing is organized, this phenomena should be placed in the centre of any planning. This outing will only be used to develop the bond which employees already have developed in cyberspace. Tasks, games, healthy debates, or conversations unrelated to work should be initiated. These activities will let the employees form mini groups where they can talk to other like-minded individuals which will build trust among them.

2.3. Multiplayer gaming among team members [2]- After exposing the employees inter-relationships into online as well as the offline world, if an organization shift this into another space of team multiplayer gaming, it not only make the bond between the team members stronger but multiplayer games will teach them how to collaborate with each other. How different team members behave in a different situation when putting under stressful situations. In this time, when smartphones are cheap and powerful to play many multiplayer games. Managers can organized some gaming events where team members can play together in one team or in multiple teams in different games. These multiplayer games will develop trust as a team as well as team spirit.

When a manager will know about the strengths and weaknesses of her employees, she can assign the tasks accordingly. This observation needs to be done secretly else the team members will behave unnaturally when they will know someone is observing them which can affect their job.


To make every employee feel part of the bigger organizational structure, company can organize online competitive events.

3. With other team members

3.1. Inter team/Departments online competitions- To make every employee feel part of the bigger organizational structure, the company can organize online competitive events like playing multiplayer games among different team members and the winners should be awarded accordingly to maintain the spirit of sport among employees.


3.2. Inter team/Departments innovative tasks- Companies can organize innovative competitions which will require an individual to interact with members of other teams or department within different roles, this can increase the bond between departments and workflow will get increased when people know each other throughout the organization.

References:

[1] Denise Carter “Living in virtual communities: an ethnography of human relationships in cyberspace”, April 2011.

[2] Lijun Tang “DEVELOPMENT OF ONLINE FRIENDSHIP IN DIFFERENT SOCIAL SPACES”, March 2008.