How to Create a Positive Work Environment During COVID

The COVID Workplace Problem:

Do you remember it? That special time in our lives, when dining in crowded restaurants was in vogue, hugging the friends we bumped into was a pleasure, and when arena seating at concerts and sporting events was just a natural part of our lives? There was so much freedom, confidence and connection with others in our world. Then one day, this nasty little bug called COVID-19 came around and completely disrupted our existence. Businesses closed, weddings and parties were prohibited, and just try to find toilet paper or hand sanitizer during quarantine.

Masks are now part of our DMO, friends get an elbow instead of a hug, and restaurants that are now ½ full (or ½ empty depending on your view) are required to sanitize our tables before and after we can use them. To tell you the truth, I’m not even sure about concerts or sporting events at this point! One thing that is certain, is that our lives have changed and our new normal has become filled with a bit of uncertainty and apprehension. How can we get past this?

While we can say that change is always a sign of the times, one thing that hasn’t changed is our need to connect as human beings. But, how? You’ve most likely seen all of battles that take place over opinions on social media, social distancing seems to be another wedge that can push us further apart as people “if” we let it. As quarantines are lifted and people begin returning back to work, the over-abundance of information, misinformation and opinions can lead to even more uncertainty as health concerns and logistics become the fore-front of our thinking. Tensions can run high and a whole new layer of stress can be added to our day, again, “if” we let it. New methods and technologies are required for a work force that exists onsite and now, online.



How Can We Create a More Positive Experience in the Workplace?

Okay, I suppose I’ve poked the bear enough for now. The real question is, how do we create a more positive and experience in our workplace during these times of COVID? Well, I thought you’d never ask! This is a bit tricky to answer at first, but as we dig into what drives our behaviors and emotions, we’ll start to identify just what it takes to fulfill some of our basic human needs. From there, we’ll have a much better opportunity in fulfilling the needs of a larger number of people and therefore creating conditions that aid in producing a more positive experience for the greater majority.



The Science Behind the Solutions:

As a student of the human spirit and a practitioner in modalities such as, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), hypnosis, personal training, meditation, as well as being scrum master of multiple teams, I’ve worked with hundreds of people over the years to educate and help them produce positive results in their personal and professional lives.

Every person looks at life through their own lens and sees it their own way. While this can be wildly different among people, psychologist Abraham Maslow broke down our human needs into five basic categories. These include:

1. Physiological – our basic survival needs, such as food, water, breathing, etc.

2. Safety – Health and wellness, shelter, employment security, stability, free from injury

3. Social – Family, friendships, romantic partnerships, groups, and communities.

4. Esteem – Respect and appreciation for and from others, feelings of accomplishment.

5. Self-Actualization – Achieving one’s full potential with one’s talents and being.


It’s easy to see from the above pyramid how survival and safety needs can occupy the foundation of our existence, however as we continue higher up the pyramid, our needs become more complex by adding in values, beliefs, traditions and personalized viewpoints. These perceptions become the relationships between our inner and outer worlds. Motivational speaker, Anthony Robbins has further broken down our human relationship needs into 6 different areas. These are:

  • Certainty – a feeling of confidence in a particular situation.
  • Variety – a feeling, of doing something different or change
  • Significance – a feeling that you are an important part of something.
  • Love /Connection – a feeling of deep caring and/or rapport with others
  • Growth – a feeling of moving beyond our current state. The ability to improve.
  • Contribution – a feeling of giving of oneself.

As individuals, these needs not only have a different priority of importance to each of us, but we also apply completely different sets of rules in how we believe they can be achieved. Let’s take significance for a moment. When you compare it to certainty, love / connection or growth, which carries more importance to you? Can you think of a time you felt truly significant in a relationship? What happened for you to feel this way? Did someone tell you, do something, give you something, or was it an internal knowing you had? How often does this need to happen for you to feel significant? Now, simply change the relationship from work related to romantic or vise-versa. Did your answers change? You see, your answers are your rules. They’re different for everyone and can change depending on the situation.

In the above two lists, the greater the number of personal needs that are met for us in our lives, the stronger we value our relationships and thus, the more positive and fulfilling our experiences become.


14 Ways to Foster Wellness in the Workplace:

With everyone so different, how can we apply these thoughts into creating a positive work experience? At ZiZo we’ve incorporated many of these thoughts into our gamification tools. By fostering an attitude of growth, esteem, communication and education, along with fun, a friendly sense of competition, and reward based achievement, our goal is to help create a unified workforce that focuses not only on production, but on building careers and establishing personnel that invests into their own growth as well as the growth of the team.

Whether your team is on-site or working remotely, here are some tips in creating a more positive experience in the workplace during this COVID period and beyond. These tips have been organized in a way to help handle some of our basic human and relationship needs. You’ll notice that there is a cross-over between them.

1. Setting up clear communication to express your strategies during a crisis.

What’s going on? Have you heard anything about…? Just how do your employees get their information? Without a unified point of communication as well as timely updates, information that is spread by word of mouth can quickly become misinformation. Consider setting up centralized points (online and offline) for employees to receive clear and consistent info with updates that affect your business. Fear can be a strong motivator. Nip it in the bud before it blossoms out of control.

2. Using team communication tools such as Slack.

Tools such as Slack are wonderful for team communication. General, individual and team specific channels can include up to 2000 people for text, video and phone communication. All posting privileges can be regulated, so important announcements can remain uncluttered and without comments. This can help instill employee confidence by providing direct contact and company-wide communication. Keep in mind, too many updates are just that. Too much! Reading a plethora of emails or “important” posts can add stress and a sense of overwhelm as employees attempt to keep up.

3. Respecting social distancing and masks

Let’s face it, masks are a pain. Then again, COVID can be a much bigger one. Implementing government guidelines shows responsiveness and builds trust that you’re working to provide a safe environment. As quarantines and guidelines lessen, allowing employees to remain wearing masks, sanitizing workstations and social distancing (where possible) ensures continued confidence that safety measures will remain in place until the crisis passes. Let them know you’ve got their backs!

4. Leaders – time to take the lead

In times of uncertainty, confidence breeds confidence. Share your plan. Get all upper-management onboard and speak about your mission and vision. Include the workforce in your vision and allow them to be part of the bigger picture. Offer your words of encouragement and express plans on how jobs are going to be kept. Then go to numbers 5 & 6.

5. Set up clear communication for workers to express their concerns.

You will never understand the fears and concerns of your employees if you don’t hear them. Set up a forum where workers can ask questions and voice their concerns. Send out surveys and get opinions. If you ask, be prepared to address and act. Actions reinforce the significance of others. Repetition establishes a sense of certainty.

6. Set up clear communication for workers – Part II

Engagement: Offer a way for employees to make positive suggestions to improve company performance and conditions. Online boards such as Trello offer great ways for teams to share progress and ideas. Reward the great suggestions by publicly acknowledging them and then act on them. Action means you’ve taken the comments seriously, and that the employees are a significant part of the team.

7. Daily stand-up meetings

In the spirit of Scrum, daily meetings are used to share information among teams that typically consist of anywhere between 3 and 9 members. These team meetings are strictly held to 15 minutes and while standing, team members answer three specific questions.

1. What work did you do yesterday to help the team?
2. What will do today to help the team?
3. Do you have any roadblocks or impediments that will slow or stop your progress?

Meetings are held at the same time every day and a scrum master facilitates them. Any roadblocks are noted and addressed after the meeting. Any additional issues are tabled and handled by the appropriate team members after the meeting. This is a great way for the team to share progress and accountability. After the meeting, teams are encouraged to share ideas in improving productivity. This will benefit all industries.

8. Consider virtual coffee breaks and happy hours – planned and unplanned.

During the height of quarantine in New York, my wife and I invited some friends over for a wine and movie night. While that may have raised an eyebrow or two, we did this completely virtual. We selected a movie (stand-up comedy actually) on a streaming network, hit play at the same time, all while our laptops streamed our faces. We were able to see each other’s reactions in real time and hadn’t laughed quite that hard in a long time. Try setting up a virtual water cooler with Zoom or Gotomeetings where people can pop in and out at random times and interact with whoever happens to be there. This is another way to help create and maintain human connection at a time where it’s been limited. The randomness of the moment can help add variety to the day.

9. Offer mental health relief from stress and anxiety

Can we talk? I’ve personally been meditating on and off since the early 90’s. I’ve also been teaching classes and courses on it for nearly 10 years. The past few semesters, I have been invited to teach it at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Let me say, that I don’t meditate to be a better meditator. I meditate, because it makes me better at living my life. I’m more productive and more at peace than I’ve ever been. While those years haven’t been completely without stress (sometimes quite the opposite), the stress has been a temporary condition and not a chronic response. Try offering meditation, mindfulness, tai chi, chi gong, yoga, hypnosis or anything else that can calm the mind and body. People need this!

10. Create a transparent work path

We all have our strengths and weaknesses in life. Sometimes we try so hard to make improvements, only to find our wheels spinning in the dirt. In business, our strengths are usually indicated by our performance in a given area. (called performance indicators or PI) However, some of those PIs aren’t key to the department and/or industry we are in. The ones that are key are called KPI or Key Performance Indicators. While success has different meanings for each of us, we all want to grow and be better at what we do. Wouldn’t it had been nice, if while working our way through the ranks, somewhere along the way, someone would have said, “This is what you need to do”? “This is where you’ll growth, and here is your greatest earning potential.”

Spend some time as you restructure to this new normal and define 3 to 5 KPIs that define the qualities that your top performing people achieve on a consistent basis, then offer a path to help educate, inspire and reward your workforce in all becoming top performers.

11. Friendly competitions to receive real rewards and benefits

In the previous suggestion, I mentioned that a person can have PIs that are not quite key to the department they are working in. As an example, think of someone on your sales staff with strong art skills. The ability to draw or play an instrument is great, but it doesn’t assist them in performing their tasks. What if there was a way to leverage some of their abilities and reward

them in the process? Well, you can. If your marketing department is preparing a new campaign and you’d like to engage the staff in this new vision, offering a friendly competition in design or creation is a great way to do this. Be creative yourself by offering gifts or bonuses that are special, such as time off, dinner with the boss, or monetary incentives. Remember, even a chicken scratch of a brilliant idea is still a brilliant idea!

12. Shout-outs to give credit where credit is due.

I heard a long time ago, that what you tell a person can be forgotten rather quickly. What you do for a person, has much more longevity, but can be forgotten over time. However, when you change the way a person feels, they’ll remember you for a lifetime. Statistically, people will invest much more time and emotion into something for gratitude, acceptance and recognition, than they will for money. Publicly acknowledging others for their work is a huge boost in confidence, connection, certainty and esteem. It will also show growth and allow for contribution. Win–Win!

13. Online learning / courseware

There are so many tools available online today that can help your workforce grow. Websites like, LinkedIn learning, Udemy and Coursera offer hundreds of courses and classes that are technology driven and industry specific. Take a look to see what courses are right for your organization and approve some content for employee learning. Remember, shout-outs, incentives and rewards go a long way when they coupled with a path for growth. A creative competition can always add that extra element of fun and connection. They say that the cream always rises to the top, but without the opportunity to rise, it will always stay hidden in the mix! This is a great opportunity for self-actualization and growth. Having employees train others in there talents offers contribution, growth, significance and esteem.

14. Last but not least – Exercise / Health and Wellness

There is a huge difference between fitness and health. Fitness has to do with our ability to perform certain tasks such as in sports, moving objects, running, jumping, etc. Health is our wellbeing and the condition of our body and body function. You can be very healthy and not too fit, and on the other hand, you can be very fit and not too healthy. When it comes to fitness or health, not many people know where to even start to improve their conditions. Offering exercise trainers, nutritionists, healthy recipes, company cookbooks, even corporate walks for a good cause can inspire health and wellness in the workforce. Corporate challenges for the most changed, most improved, most consecutive days in the gym can be rewarded as well as inspiration for others. When the body improves, the mind and attitude follows. When the mind and attitude improve, the body follows as well.

Thank you for reading. I’m wishing you all healthy and productive journey!

The Psychology of Workplace Gamification

  • The Neuroscience of Psychology
  • Reticular Activating System
  • Patterns in Learning
  • Gamification of the Workplace

In my last blog <insert title link here>, I spoke a great deal about our most basic human needs. This included needs such as, certainty, variety, significance, connection, safety, esteem, and contribution. I also touched on other topics including transparent work paths, communication, growth and self-actualization. In this blog, I’d like to continue along those same lines of thought and talk a bit about some of the drivers behind our human experience and how gamification can be successful in developing our workforce.

When it comes to gamification, I think it’s safe to say that not all games are created equal. I’d venture to say the same about our perceptions as individuals. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and many times those attributes are supported solely by the personal perceptions we hold about them. I’ll venture a little further to say that the internal beliefs we have, generate emotion and it’s the emotional state of a person that governs performance in their lives, loves and livelihoods.

You’ve most likely heard it before, that our basic human motivation comes down to either moving towards pleasure or moving away from pain. Yet, haven’t we seen some people do some incredibly painful things without apparently receiving any pleasure? Why is that, and what is it that motivates their behavior? The simple answer is emotion. Emotions can either be the driving force behind our “knee-jerk” reactions, or that subtle inner voice that encourages us to grow. Then again, it can also be the voice that says we’re not good enough for so much growth… at least, not at this time. With perception being reality, we all have the capacity to launch ourselves into greatness or fall into failure with merely our thoughts and the emotions that fuel them.

The Neuroscience of Psychology

How can we move beyond the way we think and feel?

To answer that, let’s first talk a little bit about neuroscience and how the brain and mind work together. If we look at the brain as a physical organ and the mind as the operations of the brain, we can begin to see how the mind works on multiple levels with the brain. Zooming out to a 10,000 ft view, a simplified, yet helpful overview of the brain, is known as the Triune Model, (by Physician and Neuroscientist Paul D. MacLean) Here, our brain is broken down into three distinct sections that signify some of the underlying processes of the body and mind. They are:

The Paleocortex
The Limbic System
The Neocortex

(Please notice some of the natural crossovers that occur within these sections.)

Zooming in, the Paleocortex or Reptilian Brain, which includes the cerebellum and brainstem, houses all of our unconscious code. This is the most ancient part of the brain which handles all autonomic body functions such as breathing, heart rate, core body temperature and orientation in space. Driven by instinct and survival, this part of the brain continues to follow the same patterns of behavior without having the capability to learn from its mistakes. Just like the CPU on a motherboard of a computer, it contains the basic coding to operate the system, but lacks the software that produces higher functionality, logic and meaning. Here our basic level of thought and desire asks questions like: Is it family, friend, or foe? Can I mate with it? Can I eat it or is it going to eat me?

Limbic System
The Limbic system is a layer of brain matter that wraps around the paleocortex and houses the emotional centers of the brain. At its most basic level, it’s a safety mechanism that deals with our fight, flight and freeze responses. This system works in conjunction with our autonomic processes to release hormones during times of stress/distress called the sympathetic nervous response. It also releases a different set of hormones in times of rest, digestion and healing, called the parasympathetic nervous response. This layer of mind bridges information between our conscious and subconscious thoughts. In order to protect the body from harm, responses from the limbic can happen so quickly, that it can completely bypass our conscious level of awareness. Just think of a time when a bee may have landed on your arm, and you quickly jerked away from it before you had any idea of what it was. So, contrary to the paleocortex, the Limbic System remembers the dangers in life (aka our traumatic experience) and stores them for recall. Our senses subconsciously scan for anything that resembles those experiences to react quickly when they are noticed.

The neocortex or conscious brain is the newest evolutionary part of our brain that completes the triune model. It’s typically the last to know and least informed member of the brain family. It has great difficulty in multitasking and can only process 7 (+ or – 2) events at any given time. It needs to have its focus directed to events in order to perceive them. As a brief example, look around the room and find one object that is red. When you find it, just look at it for a moment and then tell me about the air temperature, or the weight of your clothes on your skin or perhaps the weight of your bottom on your chair. You see, chances are your conscious mind was not focused on any of those things until I directed your attention to them. Yet at the same time your subconscious mind was taking in and recording over 40 million bits of information every single second. Amazing!

As a way to keep us safe and alive, a system of organelles within these sections of the brain constantly and subconsciously scan for danger. This is called the Reticular Activating System or RAS. Of the many things the RAS accomplishes, one of its main features is to filter our perceptions by bringing our focus to that which we believe to be important, dangerous or relevant to our emotional state of being. Simply put, if we are in resourceful emotional states, the RAS will bring things into focus that support that state. If we are in an unresourceful emotional state, the RAS will help us maintain that state by literally disregarding any sensory information

that conflicts with the emotion. Here’s a brief example. You’re running late for a meeting and if you don’t leave right now, you’ll not make it there on time. The problem is, you’ve misplaced your car keys. They’re not where you normally keep them, so you go running around the house frantically searching for them. You check every single room from top to bottom (knowing that they would never be in some of the places you search). You exhaust every possibility and in a moment of defeat, you walk back into the 1st room you checked, and they were sitting on top of your briefcase. Right where you put them and in plain sight so you wouldn’t forget them. Because you never put them there and expected them NOT to be there, your eyes saw them, but the RAS disregard them before sending the information to your conscious brain. This happens constantly and one of the reasons why the subconscious brain can take in 40 million bits of information a second and the conscious brain can only focus on 7 (+ or – 2) events at any given time.

The key to our conscious mind is through our focus, while the key to our subconscious mind is through our patterns. As we learn, we go through phases of focus and patterns that build our skills in life. This includes not only our abilities, but it includes our learned behaviors, beliefs, emotional patterns, and habits. The conscious mind is our focus and the subconscious is our patterns. You might want to read those last few sentences one more time. Let it sink in. Let’s move forward and talk about some of the how’s and why’s behind our learning processes.

There is so much to the inner workings of our brain than the triune model suggests. Here are a few takeaways from the above information that I’d like you to consider.

Our minds and bodies are geared for safety.
Our emotions can override our need to stay safe.
Our experience is filtered.
All learning is subconscious and happens through emotion and/or repetition.

Patterns in Learning

Allow me to ask you, do you believe you can learn any anything? Before you fully answer, have you ever studied a subject or have been presented with an idea that you just didn’t quite get? Maybe it was something that you “had” to learn, and wasn’t very excited about it, or perhaps you didn’t connect with the teaching style or delivery of information. Maybe you told yourself that it’s too difficult, or “you just can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Well, if you tell yourself that on enough occasions, you have a great possibility in believing it to be true. But then, after a lot of hard work, studying and repetition, it finally started to come together in your head. On the other hand, haven’t you ever made a “dumb” or “embarrassing” mistake that you vowed never to repeat? Lesson learned instantly. What was the difference? The main difference between the two examples was in the emotion. Emotions tend to have an instant effect on the subconscious mind and the subconscious is where all learning takes place. Repetition also impresses upon our subconscious thoughts. There is a law in science, called The Law of Innervation. This simply means that when a nerve fiber is traversed or activated to the exclusion of others, each time this occurs it becomes easier to traverse that same path. So, think muscle memory with this at the gym. We lift a weight and focus on our form. Every time we do this, it becomes easier to get our form correct. Eventually, our body become so accustomed to the weight and form we require more weight to achieve the same amount of difficulty. The exact same thing happens with our habitual thoughts, beliefs and patterns of habit.

When it comes to learning, our goal is to focus our conscious efforts until the “muscle memory” becomes second nature or subconscious. Here are 4 steps in skill building that I’ve modified from motivational speaker, Anthony Robbins.

· Level 1: Unconsciously Unskilled/Unlearned

· Level 2: Consciously Unskilled/Unlearned

· Level 3: Consciously Skilled/Learning

· Level 4: Subconsciously Skilled/Learned

Unconsciously Unskilled/Unlearned

In level 1, we don’t know what we don’t know. We are unaware of the skills we are lacking or that we are lacking them in the 1st place. Like a baby being unaware they don’t know how to drive a car, they are simply put in and taken out of the vehicle at different places by their parents.

Consciously Unskilled/Unlearned

In level 2, we become aware of what we don’t know. Here, the young child becomes aware that they are being driven around and that they don’t know how to drive the vehicle. They are not actively learning; they just notice they do not have the ability.

Consciously Skilled/Learning

In level 3, the work begins as we consciously focus on the skill. The child, (hopefully a young adult now), begins to learn the process of driving. They are made aware of all of the strategies in traffic, parking and vehicle operation. They adjust their seats and mirrors, put their foot on the brake, turn the key, check for traffic, turn the wheel, check the mirrors again, hit the gas, all while dodging stray pedestrians and staying between the lines… Holy cow! They are so focused that they say, “Just how many things as we expected to do at any one time? Don’t talk to me or even turn that radio on, because you’re making me nervous!” But then after some time and effort as the process continues, patterns begin developing and the driver starts moving into level 4.

Subconsciously Skilled/Learned

In level 4, our focused tasks have been accomplished enough to the point where we don’t need to fully concentrate on our ability. There’s no longer the need to review steps or analyze our performance. The skill becomes engrained enough into the subconscious, that the body subconsciously responds to conditions as multitasking begins to occur. The driver checks their mirrors without being reminded. They automatically use their blinkers as they prepare to turn. (Well, some of us do.) They multi-task with the ability to have a conversation or listen to the radio as they drive. If you’ve ever driven somewhere and upon arriving realize that you can recall the last few miles, take a guess who was driving. Yup, it was your subconscious mind operating the vehicle which allowed your conscious mind to daydream, have a conversation, or ponder upon other subjects.

The largest contributors to long term learning therefore lies in the repetition of action as well as any peak emotional state. (positive or negatively charged)

Gamification of the Workplace

So, now let’s talk about gamification and tie all of these pieces together. Typically, as employers our biggest investment will always be our workforce. We spend thousands of hours and ten times that in dollars, grooming them into their desired positions. A great game will not only reduce those training numbers considerably, but it will guide the productivity of the employee, transparently track their growth, highlight a career path, and reward you both along the way. By covering all of our basic human needs a great gamification system will help to create a happy and productive workforce that has longevity and growth. Here’s how.

1. Certainty:

This human condition has to do with safety. Great gamification systems allow the user the freedom and ability of choice of engagement and their focus or direction of growth. This keeps the user in control and fosters feelings of confidence. As the user becomes better at the “game”, their growth will allow them to naturally stretch to accomplish more.

2. Variety:

When the same old thing becomes the same old thing, people want change. Adding variations in gameplay and rewards will certainly keep things from getting boring. Adding elements of surprise can guide people to move out of their comfort zones and boost their desire to achieve.

3. Significance:

This a major component to a great gamification system. It includes promoting esteem, self-esteem, self-actualization and creating and environment of team collaboration and comradery. People love to feel special and will go through great lengths to achieve it. Significance and exclusivity can be expressed in a myriad of ways during gameplay. This includes special avatars, badges, achievement rewards, trophies, etc., and including social rewards such as public congratulations, unveiling of prizes and shout-outs from team members and co-workers goes a long way in making a person feel significant.

4. Love / Connection:

Connection with others comes in many sizes and shapes. As in significance, the social aspect of connecting with your teammates and competing together toward common goals goes a long way. A great gamification model will allow users to join teams and share the rewards of their results… together.

5. Growth:

I’ve heard it said, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. How do you know if you’re growing? It’s easy provide predictable and trackable achievements. When you lay out the expectations of where a person should be in their career, it’s like creating a map with a GPS. It allows the user to see exactly where they are and where they need to go. It literally renders stopping for directions or driving in circles a thing of the past. Just ask my wife! A great gamification model will show the path, track the growth, and reward the user for it. Everybody wins!

6. Engagement:

This last condition involves many of the other conditions because the reasons for engagement are personalized by the needs of the individual. With that said, by incorporating the other elements in a gaming system on a daily basis, dopamine (the reward system of the brain) is consistently activated with the daily repetition. Patterns and good habits develop. This inspires more confidence, certainty, variety, connection, growth and contribution to the team. As the emotional state of the individual(s) increases, so too does their ability to accomplish more in less time. Firing on all cylinders, the individual’s engagement continues to increase, as growth and production of the entire workplace multiplies.

Thank you for taking the time to read this series. At ZiZo, we have taken great strides into considering and creating the best possible scenarios for engagement in workforce gamification. Coupled with some of the most extensive business intelligence and reporting available, you be able to zoom in and zoom out to see exactly what you need to know about your business, at exactly the time you need to see it. An intelligent simulation model offers you the ability to forecast the future growth of your company by adjusting key data that calculates scenarios intended to maximize your business growth. It’s Game Time!

Remote Workplace Accountability – The COMPLETE Guide

  • Have Clear Expectations
  • Make Time to Communicate
  • Avoid Micromanaging
  • Ask for Proof

Employee accountability has been a hot button topic for years. Now, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the increase of remote workers makes employee accountability even trickier waters to navigate.

Every company and team is different, so it is important to find the accountability balance that is right for you. However, there are plenty of things all companies can do to improve remote work accountability.

Have Clear Expectations

Employees – especially those who are remote – can’t be accountable if they don’t know what you expect from them. Whether they’re a brand new employee or just a newly remote employee; have a discussion with them about exactly what you expect from them.

Set clear guidelines for when you expect them to be working, how you expect to get ahold of them for urgent matters, and how you plan on holding them accountable. Utilize technology like ZiZo to provide your employees with a clear outline of how to succeed and the metrics used to do so.

Having a clear understanding of how you’re going to hold employees accountable saves time and difficult conversations in the long run!

Make Time to Communicate

Communication seems like an obvious solution to accountability but remote workforce managers frequently under or over use this tool.

Don’t rely on emails and messaging all day to stay up to date on projects. This can overcrowd inboxes and shift focus away from actionable tasks. Let employees handle their work and keep them accountable by providing designated time to check-in.

Remote workers lack the typical in-person stimulation of an office so it is crucial that management provides them with time to speak with others. Whether it be via phone or video, providing a regular, designated time to chat with the team about projects gives employees a reason to stay on track.

Try scheduling daily team check-ins to provide a time for everyone to connect and update each other. No one will want to be the one in the conversation that has nothing to report. Also ensure you schedule one-on-one sessions with your employees; this will provide employees an opportunity to discuss roadblocks in achieving tasks. Layers of accountability are key!

Avoid Micromanaging

It can be tempting to get overly involved in your employees day-to-day in an attempt to hold them accountable – don’t fall into that trap!

Using technology to micromanage for you will save you time and your relationship with your employees.

ZiZo connects with the software that your employees are using all day. This will give you a glimpse at what they’re using, when and how they’re measuring up to their cohorts. The software also prompts employees to keep moving! The app will automatically encourage your employees to hit targets and ‘level up’. Instead of feeling like big brother is watching they’ll happily continue working at their pace for rewards they care about.

This technology handles employee accountability for you – while keeping management in the loop and just involved enough.

Ask for Proof

The easiest way to keep employees accountable is to see their results! Set small benchmarks for large projects that can be viewed or measured. Your expectation to see progress on a predetermined due date will hold your employees accountable without the need to keep tabs on their every move.

Show your employees that you trust them and the way they use their time – as long as they have something to show for it. Keep in mind that the overuse of goals and overly high expectations can add to employees stress and lead to less productivity. Don’t expect remote employees to perform at a high level at all times – be realistic!

Try to keep the mindset that you only need to know enough to know that the task will be completed well and on time. Instead of overloading your day with what everyone else is doing, set just enough check-ins to know that its getting done. This will hold your employees accountable without bogging down your day.

These goals can be as simple as hitting X amounts of calls in one day. This info is easy to view on the ZiZo dashboard by you and your employee, that means you both can see proof of performance without interrupting your day.

Accountability is tricky, especially in the ever-growing remote world. Don’t let this overwhelming task get you down! Implementing simple and straightforward goals and lines of communication will make holding employees accountable a breeze. Don’t be afraid to be straightforward and to implement technology to make employee management easier – save yourself the time and headache!