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Last week we discussed the rise in employers asking their staff to work from home in an attempt to reduce the risk of the spread of Covid-19 here in Barbados. We also took a little look at what that meant in terms of ensuring that each team member is engaged. This week we want to take a look at how we can solidify that engagement and bring everyone together even though they are operating somewhat isolated.

Working from home can offer many advantages for both employees and employers, such as greater flexibility, saving time and money on travel and meals, lower cost of day to day expenses and lessening absenteeism. Unlike traditional remote work, working from home still has the structure of the office job.

Despite the many advantages, it also creates new challenges. Not everyone adjusts easily; moving from the traditional office environment to working from home can be difficult for many.  

The longer they work from home, the more necessary it is to keep employees connected. It is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses as they move away from the physical plant. The natural social interactions employees once enjoyed; including carpooling, break and lunchtime chats or out of office social gatherings, created energy of their own which in this case can now become limited or non-existent. 

When you consistently work in an office, you may find it difficult to describe the energy, but it is an integral part of your working life. If you have worked from home for a day or two, you may not miss that energy. However, when your routine changes to working from home continually, you will increasingly miss that workplace energy or connection that once fuelled you. 

Therefore, it is in the best interest of employers to help employees prepare for the changes. Doing so will require a new mind-set and a way of operating on a business level and altering how departments interact; creating more purposeful interaction.

As a business here are nine ways to foster teamwork for employees working remotely.