The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted no industry quite like the travel industry. With travel bans, social distancing measures, self-isolation requirements, and more, many companies struggled to stay afloat. Global tourism revenue decreased by around 42.1% compared to the previous year, but things should start looking up with vaccines being underway.
Still, it’s critical to stay on the safe side and keep your employees working from home for the time being.
And to ensure that remote work goes as smoothly as possible, it’s critical that you find ways to boost productivity and engagement and that you focus on keeping your team together while apart.
Take a look at a few tips that’ll help you keep your travel company up and running, and that’ll make sure that remote work works for you.
Invest in the Right Tools
If there’s one thing that became abundantly clear during the pandemic, it’s that everything’s possible when you have the right tools.
Without digital tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, collaboration would be virtually impossible for many companies. Without project management apps such as Monday.com or Basecamp, keeping track of all tasks and duties would be an exhausting chore. Other chat tools like Slack can also help you check how the rest of the team is doing daily.
So, before you start looking into boosting employee engagement, make sure that you have the right tools that enable you to connect and collaborate online with ease. Keep in mind that the most expensive tools aren’t always the best for your team, so try a few different solutions out before you commit to one.
Get Creative With Team Building
Working from home has its fair share of benefits – it offers more freedom and flexibility. It enables employees to have a better work-life balance and provides excellent cost-saving opportunities for companies. So, even before the pandemic, over 7 million people in the US alone were working remotely.
However, one of the major downsides of this trend is that it’s impacting company culture. Remote workers tend to feel more isolated. They don’t have a strong sense of belonging, and they tend to feel underappreciated.
So, to maintain your company culture and establish strong remote teams, you need to get creative with team building.
At Hotelmize, our team has a bi-weekly get-together on Zoom, for example. It’s a casual hangout that allows staff members to chit-chat, relax, and enjoy some quality time together. We also make sure to surprise our employees on occasion with thoughtful presents and gift boxes sent to their addresses.
It’s the little things that help you establish a strong company culture. So, get creative and work on your team building – it makes a world of difference.
Collect Feedback and Stay Available
Since working from home is a new concept for many employees, you must check up on your staff and see how they’re handling it. Not everyone has a perfect home office that allows them to stay focused throughout the workday. Not everyone can quickly get used to the advanced new tools you may be using.
So, collect feedback and see which problems your employees might be facing during these trying times. More importantly – act on that feedback! If an employee cannot get accustomed to a piece of software, provide tutorials and assistance, or try and find a more suitable tool. If they’re having problems with work-life balance at home, provide support.
Stay available to your employees and be understanding. Keep your communication channels open to find out whether any aspect of working from home can be improved.
Establish a Clear Policy (work from home policy, hours, etc.)
Nothing can impact employee engagement and productivity like disorganized management with no clear goals, policies, and procedures. Every employee needs to be well aware of their responsibilities, which daily tasks they need to perform, which deadlines they need to meet, etc.
They need a clear set of rules and policies that’ll govern how they approach working from home.
Are they allowed to take breaks at any time throughout the day, or is there a clear rule on lunchtime? Should they follow the company dress code during video calls?
Be very detailed in your work-from-home policies and define every goal and expectation. Most importantly, set definitive work hours. Just because your employees will stay at home and technically be available 24/7 doesn’t mean that they can work 24/7. If you had a 9 to 5 policy, stick to it. Don’t expect your employees to work until midnight simply because they’re “in the office.”
For many travel companies, remote work is an entirely new concept, so it takes time to adjust to it and keep productivity levels regular. To keep your company running and your employees satisfied, you need to be flexible and understanding as well as come up with innovative ways to connect and maintain relationships with your workers. Here, at Hotelmize, we can’t wait to go back to our regular working routines so that we can tackle challenges side by side. In the meantime, we will try to stay optimistic and find new ways to keep our communication as fluent and frequent as possible.
Patricia holds degrees in; Advertising and Applied Communications, Tourism Management and a Master’s Degree in Economics for Development.
She has over ten years of experience in ON and OFF Marketing in big corporations, focusing on the latest years in the startup sector.