There is a loneliness that affects people working in a virtual / remote environment.
This remote employee “Virtual Shock” happens even if the employee loves the benefits of working remotely! It takes them by surprise and can ultimately have an affect on employee satisfaction and performance. They just know something feels different
How can a leader of remote employees make the isolated remote environment feel more personal?
Consider the human interaction in a brick and mortar contact center. An advisor meets someone in the parking lot on the way in the door and has a conversation. People are everywhere and there is a lot of interaction – In the break room, the rest room, and everywhere else that person moves during their day.
So how do we manage employees to mitigate the onset of loneliness and isolation?
The dynamic of being a remote employee is different. For much of that day, the typical contact center advisor is alone. We must make a conscious decision to change our management style and practice that change till it becomes a natural part of how we manage our business units. It takes practice.
1. Say good morning first thing in the morning to your remote employees INDIVIDUALLY in your team chat.
Mention something specific about them – Their 100% CSAT, their son or daughter’s little league game, the report they are working on, their anniversary, compliment them on one of their calls you listened to the day before – SOMETHING to connect with them individually.
2. Check in with your remote employees midday.
Ask if your remote employees have any questions that you can help with OR ask them a question: “How’s the floor feeling today?” “Do you notice anything going on with customer trending today?” “Other teams are noticing customers asking questions about ____________. What are you hearing today?” Perhaps you ask for “good news” from the “floor” and see what they come up with. Always remember to validate their comment by virtually touching them again with a “thank you” – by name.
3. Praise stats and KPI’s during the remote employee environment.
Congratulate your remote employees by name right in the group chat. Mention specifics. Don’t do it all at once. Sprinkle the news throughout the day.
These are the actions that would normally take place in a brick and mortar environment. These interactions increase in importance the more time the employee spends working virtually. By taking these three concrete actions, your employees will feel more empowered, and connected while they work – minimizing that loneliness of remote employees.