Remote working has rapidly become the new normal, and it does come with many benefits. However, people working from home can easily become disengaged and feel unsupported when not in the workplace. A lack of engagement can lead to isolation, loneliness and less enthusiasm and passion for the company and its goals. But keeping remote workers engaged doesn’t have to be complicated. Employers already use motivational methods to inspire in-house workers. Managers can easily adapt these methods for their remote workforce.
Here are eight tips for keeping your remote workers highly engaged members of the team.
1. Communicate regularly
Keeping remote employees informed and in the loop helps build a greater sense of collaboration and encourages everyone to feel that they are working towards a common goal. Have regularly scheduled meetings to align the daily tasks at the start of the working day and encourage all team members to participate. Use video calling to get your message across clearly and update employees on organisational changes, recent success, upcoming events and new starters.
2. Define goals
Employers should set clear and measurable goals to keep remote staff motivated and set them up for success. Goal setting helps remote staff understand how their work contributes to the bigger picture. Weekly 1:1 video calls, in addition to a weekly team meeting, will allow employers to discuss current projects and deliverables with individual team members. Monthly sessions can then review goals and the progress made so far, along with any issues that have arisen. 1:1 calls also provide the perfect opportunity to check in with staff and gives them the opportunity to express how they’re feeling without communications being 100% project-focused.
3. Provide the right tools
When remote workers have good tools to work with, they can collaborate, communicate and prioritise more effectively. Company branded items such as stationery and drinks bottles from Igo Promo are not only useful but can help staff feel part of the business – even while off-site – businesses should also get custom lanyards printed to wear during video calls with clients to show brand identity. Remote workers can also benefit from the array of apps available that help plan and organise work and video calls. For example:
- Slack for communication
- Zoom or Google Hangouts for video conferencing
- Jira for project management
- Google Calendar for time management
- Google Drive or DropBox for file sharing.
4. Be flexible
There must be a balance between what remote workers need and what the business needs. While there can be set times for team meetings and collaborative sessions, remote staff should have autonomy over how and when they work the rest of the time. Building a sense of trust between managers and employees is essential for employee motivation, engagement and satisfaction. This flexibility also enables employees to develop an effective work cycle that works best for them and creates a healthier work-life balance.
5. Establish and respect boundaries
Employers need to respect their remote employees’ boundaries and make it clear that they don’t expect employees to respond to every email immediately or when they aren’t working. This clarification is positive for everyone and will cultivate trusting relationships between the workforce and the business. Employees with the autonomy to choose their working hours and feel that their employer respects boundaries will be far more motivated and engaged during their working hours.
6. Recognise and celebrate successes
Recognising and celebrating achievements doesn’t just boost an individual employee’s engagement, but it can also increase productivity, company loyalty and higher retention. Creating an online recognition system for remote employees is essential to keeping them engaged. This can be done by creating a dedicated ‘kudos’ channel on a messaging chat such as Slack or sharing a post on social media such as LinkedIn. Publicly recognising good work and celebrating wins ensures people working remotely feel included, and their work is valued.
7. Hold virtual coffee breaks
Short breaks from work to meet with colleagues can help boost productivity and employee engagement. However, for remote workers, it’s easy to feel isolated. Virtual coffee breaks are short video calls where employees can come together for an informal chat. The calls may only last for around 30 minutes, but they can help staff feel that they are part of a team, despite working at different locations. It’s a way for people to stay connected which is helpful when collaborating on work projects.
8. Ask for and listen to staff feedback
Encouraging employees to provide constructive feedback can help managers and employers understand what is and isn’t working for remote employees and their ideas for improvement. Employers must then communicate when they take action on the feedback or why they’ve chosen not to act on it. This will show employees that they’ve not only been listened to, but their opinion is respected. When employees feel valued, they are far happier and engaged with their work.
When employee engagement and teamwork is a priority, the whole organisation is guaranteed to thrive.