How to keep your employees engaged and safe when working from home
Remote work is here to stay. Here’s how to promote both productivity and engagement throughout this transition.
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May 26, 2021
5 min read
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Thanks to the pandemic, business leaders are letting more people work from home than ever before if they can, and most companies are moving towards a hybrid working model. Even so, security and commitment are legitimate obstacles that can stand in the way of success. Taking simple but intentional steps to keep your teleworkers safe and engaged is essential.
1. Put everyone on a VPN (gradually)
VPNs are virtual private networks. They essentially create an encrypted connection or “virtual tunnel” to another network on the Internet. This prevents people who are not authorized to see your data or what you do.
Eventually, everyone on your remote team should access your corporate network through a VPN. But to get into the habit of keeping it and practically integrating it, gradually tighten the requirements for VPN usage over time.
2. Improve your training
Many people who work from home or who will in the future have not done so before to such a large extent. They therefore need specific training modules that can prevent them from encountering problems in this environment. It can be more technical, like how to connect through the VPN or how to use all the features of your digital collaboration software. But you’ll also need other information (for example, how to spot a phishing email and why general employees are now targets rather than executives). At the same time, the people who work remotely for you may have other unique training needs, such as setting up an ergonomic home office. So, make specific work from home safety / security modules available in your larger training platform that clearly communicate exactly what you want people to do.
Just because your team members are distant doesn’t mean they can ditch traditional training, like your policies and procedures for interacting with customers. You can be flexible about how your telecommuters complete these training points, but don’t let them fall through the cracks when it comes to doing it like everyone else.
Related: How To Give Your Employees A Sense Of Tribe In A Distant World
3. Create programs especially for fun
Fun activities don’t just give your team a mental break. They also play a huge role in allowing people to see others as real human beings with whom they can connect. This is more important than ever when you have people far away because the distance can make it difficult for them to feel like part of the group.
At KnowBe4, we have people on a “shenanigans” team. Their whole job is to come up with fun and cool projects that allow people to have fun and look at each other. For example, for Halloween, they set up an Alice in Wonderland drive-thru service where workers could drop by and collect a care package. Even if you don’t have a crowd dedicated For these kinds of activities, your HR team should spend time setting up programs for fun. They just need to recognize the remote nature of teams and make sure they can participate as easily as people who work in person.
4. Focus on personal well-being
When people walk into the office it is easy for you as the manager to notice how they are doing. You can see if they are tired or stressed by chatting at the water cooler, for example. It can also be easy for them to tap into health resources like your office gym. However, when your workers are remote, you need to encourage them more to work on their immune systems and build their own personal health “firewalls”.
So, create programs that can motivate your remote workers to adopt healthy habits, like getting enough sleep or eating well. You will get this right if you involve them from the start and ask them what they want and what they need most.
Whatever you do together, set up your programs to make sure people actually participate. They should be easy to use and fun to do, and they shouldn’t feel like extra work or obligations. Rewards can entice people to participate and entice them to use the programs. For example, we launched a monthly “Enter Your Steps” challenge with a variety of rewards available to teams that have collectively reached their quotas.
Related: Work platforms from anywhere for the well-being of employees
The remote is here forever, so keep people happy and safe
Remote working isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, it will probably only become a bigger part of business. Finding strategies to keep people safe and connected even if they are working from home – and doing that as early as possible – is really to your advantage. Tackling your VPN, training, and fun and wellness programs is a good start. Collaborate to develop and integrate these essentials and you’ll be in great shape for the future of work.