Many businesses are finding themselves suddenly hosting a remote workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s expected that this arrangement will last for some time, and so it’s important that employers get it right in order to succeed in these uncertain times.

Keeping your remote employees happy and healthy is going to be crucial to your business’s success – this means offering tips for your employees to stay on task and avoid going stir crazy. These things can be especially challenging if your employees have never had to work from home before. Keeping your employees happy during the COVID-19 crisis is easier than you think, but it’s going to take a lot of persistence and a dash of creativity to get it just right.

**Communication and connection is key
**Since none of your employees can be in close proximity for the time being, one of your biggest challenges will be to overcome the communication barrier. You can do this pretty easily with the right communication tools, like Slack, RingCentral and Google Hangouts Meet, which allow your team members to chat freely and launch video calls rather than emailing back and forth. It’s highly recommended that you hold regular conference calls to keep employees in the loop and to give everybody a voice.

Being able to connect with other team members through video chats is a great way to remove some of the distance between your employees, and helps everybody focus on the bigger picture. Check in with employees every now and then to ensure that they’re doing well, and ask them if there’s anything you can do to make their new remote working situation more comfortable – this will go a long way in easing their mind and helping them acclimate to the new environment.

**Stay transparent and share new developments
**The COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented, and continues to change and evolve almost daily. This means that your business may be affected by the spread of COVID-19, or by policies made to combat it. Transparency will go a long way in helping your team get through these uncertain times. Keeping your employees up-to-date on what’s going on with your business and how it’s being affected by the coronavirus is recommended, as it’ll keep them in the loop, prepare them for potential changes to processes and policies, and help assure them that all is well for the company.

**Encourage your employees to create dedicated remote work stations
**One of the biggest challenges of working from home is actually treating it like a real job – especially if you don’t have access to a home office. Encouraging employees to keep a well-organized work station will help them focus on the task at hand and minimize distractions, even if it’s an informal setup. Be mindful of ergonomics, and encourage employees to sit upright in a chair rather than work from bed or on the couch.

If possible, set employees up with microphones and/or webcams so they can join in on conference calls. Establishing an informal dress code may also be a good idea – while it can be tempting to work in your pajamas, getting dressed for the job will go a long way in getting you in the right frame of mind for working from home.

**Equip your team with the right tools for productivity
**In order to get work done from home, your employees need to be given the right tools for the job. Cloud-based productivity solutions like Zoho One and G Suite offer your team a full assortment of intelligent apps to work within, allowing them to collaborate and communicate with each other and work towards higher quality projects. Cloud-based apps found in both Zoho One and G Suite can be accessed from anywhere, on virtually any device, allowing your employees to comfortably (and productively) work from home.

**Be there for your employees
**These are stressful times, and your employees are going to need all the support they can get. You have to be there for them emotionally, and vice versa. Let your employees know that they can come to you with their problems and stressors, and that you’ll do whatever you can to alleviate their stress. Be understanding when employees have to walk away from their desk to spend time with their children and partners, and encourage employees to walk away when they need to.

Maintain friendly interactions with your team by sending memes or lighthearted comments to them via Slack. Get creative and hold coffee chats, virtual board game sessions, or ask them what they’ve been watching and listening to in order to pass the time. It’s the perfect opportunity to get to know your employees and to come together as a team. We’re all in this together, and together we’ll get through it.

ion8 is your one-stop shop for all things communications, software solutions, design, and marketing. We are a Zoho Advanced Partner and a Google Partner with a full team of certified consultants who are ready to help you and your team seamlessly transition to remote work by implementing and integrating cloud-based communications and software solutions that increase productivity and break down communication barriers. For more information about what ion8 can do to help you, contact us today.