Staying connected with your employees in 'the new normal': three practical tips
The so-called 'new normal' is almost there: a world without a pandemic, but with lasting consequences of that pandemic. The relationship between employees and employers has also been shaken up considerably. How do you keep your employees engaged with your company? Mandatory Friday afternoon snack? Free lunch? The mug printing with inspirational quotes? Here you can read three practical tips that work.
We see the consequences of the new normal everywhere: on the stock exchange, in the tourism sector, but of course also in office life. More than half of employers in the Netherlands now have indicated never to go back to the way it used to be, but to let staff work (much) more from home, also in the future. Many, especially smaller, employers then wonder how you can still maintain good ties with your employees in such a world. Because doesn't continuous working from home lead to distance and less involvement?
Working from home saves money
First the good news: that it saves almost every employer a lot of money to have employees work more at home and less in the office, the studies now agree. In that respect, it is not at all surprising if you consider, once corona is really completely over, to have your staff work from their own office at home. And also not so crazy to have one homework allowance to oppose.
Such compensation often amounts to a few bucks a month, which is only a fraction of the savings many employers feel now that their staff mainly works from home. As an employer, you are really obliged, if you ask your staff to work from home, to ensure that the home workplace meets the requirements. It must be possible to work in accordance with the requirements of the Working Conditions Act, which means, among other things, that you must make screens, a decent office chair and other material available or that you have to create compensation for this. But besides the obligatory numbers, there is much more.
Binding and involvement
After all, you not only want to be an employer that complies with the legislation, but you also want a good being an employer. And you want your staff to stay involved with the company, even if they are working from home for three, four or even five days. You're talking about keeping a bond with your staff and between your staff members, who can no longer chat about their weekend at the water cooler or coffee machine. That all sounds marginal, but these are precisely the elements that many people who work from home miss so much and that make many Dutch people say: I can't wait to go back to the office.
For that group – and for all employers who are concerned about the involvement of their current – but also their future staff: three simple, practical tips to maintain mutual bonding and optimize involvement.
Tip 1: Goodies
Send a goodie regularly to all your employees, so that everyone has something nice 'from the company' at their home workplace from time to time. For example, you can print a mug with your company's logo. There is a good chance that everyone who is going to use it to drink the coffee in the morning. Or send your employees a drink package for Friday afternoon, or just before Christmas a nice warm sweater with the company logo on it. It doesn't have to cost much and it isn't high math, but it does a lot with the team spirit.
Tip 2: Freedom
If compulsory working from home has taught us anything, it is that opinions are strongly divided. One employee suffered a burnout as a result, while the other thought it was absolutely fine. It is important to continue to respond to this and to offer a lot of freedom of choice after the crisis. Does anyone want to sit in the office for five days? Make sure you can. Would someone like to come by one morning a week and continue working from home? Don't shoot that beforehand. Look at what is possible and leave your own preference aside for a while. If you put the well-being of your staff first, they will generally repay it.
Tip 3: Fixed moments
Make sure that you keep structure in the week, even after corona, even though one employee may continue to work from home (much) more than the other. That is to say: a fixed opening of the week, a fixed weekly closing, perhaps a fixed moment in the week when everyone is physically together. If you have a clear, fixed structure, it is also easier to grant freedoms around it. Everyone will be fine if there is clarity.