Recent events have shown us that many businesses can run successfully when people work from home. This can reduce the cost of having staff on site or in an office, but it’s important to not to have the attitude of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Employee retention and engagement are as important as ever.

Set your employees up to work well from home

Don’t assume that your employees have the equipment they need for optimal efficiency. Make sure that everyone can work safely and comfortably, and that they have the right tools for seamless email, chat, video conferencing and sharing information. They’ll also need the contact details of an IT specialist they can call if they have problems with their technology.

Make it easy to communicate

At the office, employees can easily walk over to a colleague or supervisor and ask for help. You should aim to give them the same feeling of confidence and support when they’re working from home. A clear line of reporting can help, and a set of ground rules can also help avoid frustration and misunderstandings, or texts and emails that sound unintentionally aggressive or rude.

You should stay in regular contact with your staff to check how they’re handling remote work, whether they need any extra support and to provide encouragement. Showing concern for their wellbeing will help build loyalty. It will also help you identify problems early on, giving you and your staff a chance to fix them before they get out of hand.

Maintain culture and shared purpose

When employees feel they’re part of a community with similar values and goals they’re more likely to stay motivated. Peer recognition is a powerful bonding tool. Make sure your employees have a chance to recognise colleagues who go the extra mile.  You could also consider strengthening your team with fun online activities and social engagement activities.

Provide professional development online

Training and opportunities for development are two of the most effective retention strategies. They’re every bit as important for people working from home as those in the office. Fortunately, different types of training are available online and in many different formats. Training and development are also important for managers. Managing a team remotely is a skill and one that is being called upon more and more in today’s current ‘work from home’ climate.

Make onboarding easy and welcoming for new starters

When a new starter is working is remotely, the onboarding process is more important than ever. You want them to feel welcome and part of the team as well as confident about their role and what’s expected of them. That means adapting your current onboarding process, so each step works online. You can welcome your new hire privately via a video call before introducing them to the rest of the team. It also helps to give them tasks they can start working on right away.

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The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. NAB recommends that you seek independent legal, financial and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.