- HR Strategy and Culture
- 5 things we’ve implemented at citrus HR to keep our staff happy and motivated whilst working remotely
Like most companies across the world, we’ve had to transition citrus HR to fully remote work in just a few days. If you are familiar with citrus HR you will know that our founder David Lester, runs a very happy, motivated ship.
Our office manager, Louise Slowgrove, rose to the challenge and did a wonderful job setting everyone up at home and translating our office culture into a remote working culture. The set-up of tech and the phones is arguably the easy bit, it’s keeping people happy and motivated that takes more considered thought.
Here are Louise’s top tips on managing remote teams, hopefully you can implement one or two of these things to help your staff stay happy and healthy too.
Tip 1 – Make mental health a priority
“Going from a full office environment to working remotely can put a huge strain on individuals that come to work to escape a challenging or busy home life.
It’s important to remind your team that their mental health is important and ensure they take time out for lunch, a coffee, food and exercise, as looking after yourself should be as much of a priority as the work itself.
I also make an effort to share a variety of useful mental health resources and ideas in our #wellbeing Slack channel to help keep the team happy at home, these include:
- Mindfulness/headspace apps: meditation can help improve mental health and overall wellbeing, so these apps are definitely in my top recommendations! I regularly mention these to the team and have now set up weekly Zoom meetings so a bunch of us can all meditate together – bliss!
- Why can’t we sleep podcast: since the lockdown, I know a lot of people are finding sleep to be more challenging. The ‘why can’t we sleep’ podcast is great, as it gives some great solutions for insomnia.
- Action for happiness coping calendar: the coping calendar has 30 suggested actions that can help us look after ourselves and each other as well as create a sense of togetherness during this crisis.
- Dancing with Oti Mabuse: many people are locked in with bored children. Oti Mabuse creates great dance content to help keep kids amused but most importantly active during this tough time, and best of all it gives you a little more time to get work done!
- Science with Maddie Moate: another great YouTube channel for kids, that creates educational yet fun science content. My kids love this, and it helps me a lot with homeschooling!“
Tip 2 – Use technology to stay in touch
“Slack and Zoom are great ways to emanate an office environment and stay in touch in real-time, helping employees feel less isolated by keeping a sense of normality when they can see or hear from a friendly face.
One of the things I like to do is create open ‘office’ related discussions on a general Slack channel, to keep everyone updated on “all-things citrus” or ask the team to send snaps of their home workstations, their pets, their children or anything interesting to keep people entertained and engaged during the day.
It also helps using our HR Software, as I have all the team’s information in one place so I can easily ring anyone who I’m worried about or contact the whole team at once via text message if something important happens.”
Tip 3 – Give yourself clear concise and achievable goals
“Clear focused goals can help keep you motivated and overcome procrastination. Make yourself a list of what you need to achieve over the course of the day and work through it.
Inevitably interruptions happen to take you down a different route, but have your list in front of you, return to it, and re-focus.
To do this you can simply put pen to paper or use an excel sheet, but one of my favourite tools is Trello an incredibly flexible project management platform, that allows multiple people to collaborate on a task.
And, as a Manager, it provides a great platform to collaborate with your employees as well as the ability to add deadlines and even notes to important tasks.”
Tip 4 – Find ways to recognise and reward employees
“If you are used to having a Friday beer, quiz night or social event as part of your work life then it’s really hard when you go from having a busy social office environment to working solo.
Feeding back customer praise of individuals and acknowledging workload achieved is a lovely way to feel part of a group again.
At citrus HR, we take employee of the month nominations through our HR Software. This function allows the team to submit positive feedback about any employee to our senior team.
We then reward and congratulate the employee with the most recommendations in our monthly company meetings. This is a great way to make your team feel valued and recognise hard-working individuals.
However, we did find it hard this month as everyone has gone out of their way. We ended up rewarding the HR team “team of the month” as they have all been working much longer hours to make sure every single customer had the right amount of HR support.“
Tip 5 – Support one another
“This is a difficult time, and everyone has individual worries, therefore make sure the whole team knows who they can talk to and how, whether this is by phone, text, slack or virtual meetings.
We set up regular team meetings in the morning, plus we have separate Zoom coffee breaks where managers sometimes get involved and other do not, so staff can talk freely just as they would on a normal coffee break.
The Office Manager is a great central point of contact in the team, so try to make yourself visible and available, so they team feel like they can rely on you when they need it the most. And sometimes that might be the founder or senior management who need a friend to talk to!“
Our powerful HR Software can provide tools to help save you time and stress during this crisis by giving you all the data you need to manage your team remotely like emergency contact details and your important HR documents or by providing you with Coronavirus features like our self-isolation and furlough tracker, so you know who is where, when at all times.