https://www.bonnielowkramen.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/KeepingRemoteEmployeesConnectd_All-Business-.png 1080 1080 Bonnie Low-Kramen /wp-content/uploads/2020/08/bonnie-low-logo.png Bonnie Low-Kramen2022-08-31 18:59:232022-09-14 12:47:51Staying Visible in an Invisible Workplace featured in All Business.com
One of the very real dangers of the new remote workplace is being invisible. Bonnie offers solid advice about how to avoid being “out of sight, out of mind.”
Can I see you? This question has a whole new meaning in 2022 and usually involves a webcam. One of the very real dangers of the new hybrid landscape populated by remote employees working from home is how easy it is to be invisible. It’s not a big leap to say that it’s become a challenge for workers to make powerful and personal connections when they can’t see each other in person on a regular basis.
This issue bears close attention since it is estimated that 22% of the American workforce will be working remotely by 2025. How then will the staff in our workplace connect and collaborate? After all, humans are social creatures who have a need to be together, at least some of the time.
In the new workplace of 2022, staffers report feeling isolated and siloed, not to mention downright lonely and out of the loop. Keeping employees connected is crucial both for morale and work quality. So, how does a business owner build a team that can effectively collaborate, cooperate, and communicate—even if they are not physically in the office together?
How to make remote employees feel connected and heard
Set guidelines for webcams and meetings
Webcams—on or off? Webcams should be on for all meetings. It is a given that pets and children may enter the frame from time to time, so blurred backgrounds are fine unless there is a protocol in place that prevents their use. Also, team members who do not already own a webcam should be supplied with one at the company’s expense.
Control Zoom burnout. You can reduce Zoom burnout by setting limits on the length of video calls and the number of meetings that you hold per day. One way might be to set 50-minute meetings rather than 60-minute ones, and have your meetings start at five minutes past the hour. Another option could be to ensure all meetings end by 2 p.m. on Fridays. Also, set clear agendas for meetings so that the time is used wisely.
Consider in-person policies for new hires
In-person visibility is especially important for new hires. The first 90 days are when relationships are developed among team members and when the company culture is reinforced. Some companies require new hires to come into the office for the first 60 to 90 days to be integrated and assimilated into the company. Even if the hire later becomes fully remote, initial in-person time can make a difference in keeping remote employees feeling connected and like part of the team.
In addition, candidates should be asked how they feel about a hybrid work schedule during the hiring process and not after. Policies should not come as a surprise to anyone.
Make it safe to say the “quiet things” out loud
Along with invisibility comes silence. Quite often employees feel uncomfortable speaking up to their bosses. A lot of times they feel terrified to do so because they don’t feel safe. Speaking up can be difficult to do in person, and is even more difficult to do over a webcam, especially with someone you’ve never met in person. After all, no one is eager to be the proverbial messenger of bad news or criticism in any situation.
In my work training executive assistants, I know that there is much that can go unspoken in a workplace. These touchy subjects can include:
- Who is bullying/sexually harassing whom?
- Why is a staffer resigning? Reasons include feeling disrespected, undervalued, underpaid, and discriminated against.
- Unfair rules—the staff gets wind of XYZ policy that is not being applied fairly at the company.
Here’s the thing: if a leader does not know there is a problem, how do they know the problem exists? Making it safe for remote staff to speak up, to say the quiet parts out loud, has always been an important responsibility for business owners. It’s become more critical now with a remote and hybrid workforce that needs strong human connections on an ongoing basis.
In addition, business owners need to be alert to their introverted staff who may have much to say, but don’t have an easy way to say it. The quiet ones can easily be overpowered by their louder colleagues and often need to be drawn out by savvy leaders to make them feel connected and heard.
Help your remote staff to feel seen and heard
Business owners are seeing that the issue of invisibility and keeping remote employees connected has emerged as a major factor in staff retention and job satisfaction. Staff need to feel seen and heard as individual people who matter to their leaders. They want to feel safe in the knowledge that their leaders care about them as human beings, rather than only a talking head in a square box. And most of all, they want to be able to share their ideas and opinions and be respected and valued for it.
Read the original article from All Business here.
I am Bonnie Low-Kramen, TEDx speaker, author of “Be the Ultimate Assistant” and trainer of Executive Assistants all over the world. As part of my work to build ultimate business partnerships, I was published in Harvard Business Review and featured in a Forbes online cover story. In the research for my second book about the workplace to be published in 2023, I have had over 1,500 conversations with assistants, leaders, HR professionals, recruiters, and business school professors in 14 countries and 38 states. I am excited to work with you towards building your ultimate workplace. Click here to set up a time to speak with me about your training needs which can be delivered virtually or in person.