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COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way we live and work. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, close to half of Australian workers are currently working from home.

Working from home is not a new concept. Over the past decade, tens of thousands of Australian workers have made the transition to working remotely. But this sudden, unexpected change, brought about by the pandemic, comes with challenges for both mangers and staff, particularly for those who have never worked from home.

One of the key issues for managers has been how to keep staff engaged and motivated.

Stephen Bell, iHR Australia Managing Director says sustaining engagement will be different for every business and individual. “Leaders need to individualise how they approach managing staff who are working at home.”

A new approach to staff engagement

Remote working requires a shift in management style to accommodate for this new way of working.

“Managers need to change their expectations of remote staff. They need to let go of normal interactions that face to face allows. Instead, focus on responding to their contributions and work based on outcomes, rather than being task focused. Avoid worrying about whether they are at their desk or not.”

“Productivity can be affected when people work at home, depending on the type of person and the nature of the work. This is why it’s vital to tailor your approach for each of your remote staff members,” Stephen said.

Keeping in contact is vital

Structured, daily contact via virtual methods such as online video meetings and regular calls is more important than ever. It not only keeps remote staff on track and task focused, but it also helps to alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation that can impact their performance.

“Keep in touch with your team through disciplined communication with a purpose but also to check in on their well-being,” Stephen said.

Leaders who maintain high levels of engagement with staff working from home will enjoy a high performing team. Ultimately resulting in a more resilient organisation.

Leading People Working at Home is an eLearning program created specifically for the COVID 19 pandemic.

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