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We all know how hard the various quarantines and shutdowns have been on business lately, and even if you’ve been able to stay open and operating during this challenging time, you’ve likely faced a number of new difficulties and challenges your warehouse has never experienced before.

One of these may be the increase in remote work and working from home. While the majority of warehouse workers are still required to be physically present on the shop floor just due to the nature of the work being performed, an increasing number of warehouses have turned to having their office staff work from home to decrease the number of people physically present inside the warehouse at all times.

As anyone who has been displaced by the quarantine can tell you, staying connected to your team when you’re not sharing a building can be trying on your productivity and focus. If you have office staff or other team members working remotely from your warehouse, here’s a few tips you can do to keep them engaged and connected:

Engaging Remote Workers During Quarantine

 

One of the biggest ways to keep your workers engaged and proactive is through empowerment. Especially right now when teams are distributed in various locations, it can be difficult to help your workers feel like they can make decisions up the chain. Make sure each team member is aware of their authority and power to affect change in the warehouse, from simple things like the placement of items on pallet racks all the way up to larger policy changes for the handling of items, processing of incoming shipment through customs, and the like. This can help your team feel like they’re still contributing to the overall effort even if they’re not physically present.

Empowerment can also come through shared successes. As we all know, no warehouse worker truly operates on their own, and this includes remote office workers. If a part of the team achieves some major goal or KPI, or finds a way to streamline processes in a way that helps everyone, the entire warehouse should be kept aware of these changes and credit should be given where it’s due. Communication such as this will help your team feel like they’re making a difference, and can foster a more engaged and proactive team culture overall.

Supporting Remote Workers During Quarantine

 

Similarly, finding ways to support the efforts of remote workers will help them get just as much done from home as they would’ve at the office. One of the best ways to do this is with constant, regular communication. When asked about some of the biggest difficulties they face, remote workers will often reference a lack of communication with their teammates and/or workers still present in the workplace, even when they are not. Team by team, set regular phone/video meetings (daily or weekly as schedules allow) and make sure constant contact is encouraged throughout the day with the use of email or messaging programs to keep all team members on the same page.

Finally, maybe the best way to support your offsite workers is to get creative. We’re all facing a lot of communication and productivity challenges that we maybe haven’t faced before during our careers, and it’s important to be flexible and adapt to your team’s needs as able. Don’t be afraid to schedule 1-on-1 meetings, embrace new communication tools, and seek further team input so you understand exactly what challenges your team is currently facing, and why. We can all get through it together with a little flexibility and creativity.

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