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Leading A Strong Team From Home: 5 Ways To Engage Your Staff

There was a time when work was so straightforward. Every weekday featured a robotic routine we broke into — peak-hour commute, clock-in, complete tasks, clock out, peak-hour commute. Squeeze in the occasional watercooler breaks (when we quite literally spilt the tea), the after-hours hangouts in favour of work-life balance, and the rugged gym rituals for the fit and aspiring.

Then we ushered in current mandates — the never-ending community quarantines, the social distancing measures, closure of recreational areas, the locked gates of office and school buildings the world over. Today, we sit in a bedroom-turned-transient office and greet colleagues in haphazardly put-together WFH fits. The almost-universal shift into working from home was sudden and unforeseen, and there appeared a destructive grey area between work and personal life.

As we keep ourselves afloat and get the hang of our new norm a little more, it’s important to note the inherent challenges of our new work setup and its impact on our performance. Below are a series of things that companies, employees and managers can do to adapt and succeed in a remote workforce.

1. Daily team meetings

Not only do virtual meetings keep daily communication and real-time discussions in place, but they also indicate a clear start of each workday and establish an at-work mentality. The team could delegate work, share progress on deliverables, and raise any concerns or questions they might have. Clearly stating daily goals can help your team create a level of accountability and expectations for themselves, orient themselves towards a common goal and maintain conducive workflows in turn.

2. Mandate a video-first culture

Turning on your video in a private space of rest can feel somewhat invasive. Still, with the wide range of virtual backgrounds or customisation options, employees can feel comfortable controlling how they present themselves in a team meeting. Video communication allows for more fluid virtual meetings and ensures that employees are more engaged, focused and respectful. The team benefits from nonverbal cues and body language, which humanises virtual collaboration and creates more authentic relationships with their remote peers. So be sure to encourage your employees to sit up, change out of their pyjamas and run a brush through that head of hair.

3. Keep the office culture alive

A downside to a remote working environment is the feeling that the team is a little more disconnected. So much happens in an office, and with a lack of a physical workstation to gather, keeping an engaging and intimate office culture intact is essential. Try to keep virtual interactions going and sought out activities to help the team express themselves in fun ways. It could be a multiplayer interactive game, an online viewing party of the latest blockbuster or a weekly happy hour to collectively wind down. Invest in the resources to nurture your team even from afar and make sure your employees feel connected throughout the week — it’ll do wonders for the team’s well-being.

4. Avoid micromanaging

Online presence isn’t a sure indication of productivity, and leaders should help remote workers to thrive by trusting them to manage their time effectively to deliver outcomes. Model good communication behaviours and establish clear behavioural and results-based expectations for your team. You could emphasise managing and monitoring performance measures, and adjust expectations when necessary. It’s best to remind yourself that people are doing the best they can within their given environments. Peer-to-peer recognition and a bit of grace are needed now more than ever.

5. Encourage employees to stick to working hours

The team needs a separation between work from home life and time for themselves – just as they would pre-lockdown. Establish clear boundaries and guidelines with your employees by keeping work hours fixed. As we’ve learned from the experience of the majority of remote workers, work-life balance can become a mess. It’s all too easy for your employees to soldier on until after-hours because there’s no way to leave their work in the office and no one around to say “go home”. From priority projects to work hours and delivery timelines, don’t leave anything to chance. Set clear expectations about availability periods and response times, and respect the time your employees ought to have beyond contracted hours. 

Conclusion

More than ever before, business leaders are responsible for managing a team spread across remote locations. In this new norm, it is essential to keep your employees engaged, productive and healthy in their new home office. Here at Kayaroll, we understand that leading a remote team is a unique challenge, and are here to take your load off the more time-consuming tasks. 

Kayaroll is dedicated to empowering you and your employees with our ready-to-go, fuss-free payroll software in Singapore. With the inclusion of a leave management system, our comprehensive software is free for the first 100 sign-ups! So hurry onboard and leave your tedious administrative tasks to us as you implement an easy-to-use system for remote work. Fret not, our systems are well attuned to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore’s (IRAS) requirements and compatible with the Auto-Inclusion Scheme (AIS) in Singapore— so what is holding you back?