As the world around us continues to evolve, so do our workspaces. With the help of modern technology, we can work from wherever we are—whether we’re in the office, at our home, or on the road. We get to work at our own pace, on our own schedule. Those of us that are super productive, can even accomplish our own, personal to-do list while doing so.
As far as “new normals” go, it’s not half bad!
There are a lot of reasons remote work is positive for employees, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have unique challenges.
Without being in the same office space together and having a clear employee engagement strategy, some organizations find it difficult to keep remote employees engaged. This can result in reduced morale, low productivity, and a lack of collaboration.
But we don’t have to settle for that because there’s good news: it IS possible to keep your remote employees engaged!
We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite ways to engage remote employees to help you create a comfortable environment where your team can have fun at work—wherever they are!
There are many ways you can engage your remote employees. The following list is by no means comprehensive. With a little ingenuity, you can create a culture of high engagement that works for your business. Whether you’re looking for new ideas or are just getting started, here are some of the best ways to increase engagement for your remote employees:
Focus on communication comfort zones
Effective communication is one of the most important factors when engaging team members who work from home. Research shows that teams who communicate effectively may increase their productivity by as much as 25%.
One great thing about modern technology is there is no end to the ways people can communicate. This means that, no matter how your employees prefer to communicate, you can reach them whichever way they like.
Apps such as Zoom, Google Meet, and a plethora of others can help you communicate with employees face-to-face. If they (or you) prefer text communication, you can use messaging platforms such as Slack and Teams.
The choice is yours. Every app/communication platform comes with pros and cons. It’s important to choose a platform that meets your needs and helps streamline your communication. Don’t forget -when implementing any new technology you should have a plan to upskill your current employees and integrate it into your onboarding process.
Recognize their mental health needs
Over the past few years, we’ve seen firsthand the way stress and other mental health factors can affect both individual employees and workplaces as a whole. Employees who work full-time from home might experience their professional and personal stressors within the same environment. They are literally living at work!
Recognizing the role mental health plays in your employees’ relationship to themselves and their work can help you ease their stress, keep them engaged, and foster an emotional connection. How you integrate this into the workday is up to you, but you do have several options. For instance, you can:
Ask how their day is going
Ask what they might need from you to support them in their role
Be flexible/Offer a set number of “mental health hours” per week/month
Include mental health coverage in their health care benefits
Create an employee assistance program
Being empathetic to your team members’ mental health needs isn’t just beneficial for employees, it’s a good business practice. According to research from EY, 90% believe empathetic leadership leads to greater job satisfaction, while 79% think it lowers employee turnover.
Each employee has their own work style preferences. For most, being part of a team is integral to engaging with their work. Encouraging remote work team collaboration can help employees feel like they’re together—even when they’re not. You can encourage teamwork among your remote employees in many ways, including:
Set up virtual team-building activities, such as virtual game nights or virtual coffee breaks
Create collaboration opportunities, such as asking two or more team members to work together on a project
Encourage your employees to support each other, such as helping them feel comfortable seeking advice from each other when they need help
Set up regular communication opportunities, such as recurring meetings where your team can communicate with each other
Employees who are part of a cohesive team are more likely to have a positive employee experience and organizations have improved business outcomes
Recognize employee's accomplishments
When an employee helps your team reach a goal or milestone, it’s important to let them know they’re appreciated. While working remotely, it can become harder for them to feel seen. But you can still do it! It might be harder to have an office pizza party, but you’ve certainly got options. For instance, you can:
Hold a virtual team meeting where you publicly thank the individual employee for their contributions
Offer a bonus to employees who reach specific goals or milestones
Dedicate a space on your company’s internal or public website/social media recognizing the employee’s work
Create team meetings where your employees can recognize and thank each other
Send your employees frequent messages thanking them and commending their work
Give your remote employees a voice
Whether they’re remote or in the office, your employees most likely have strong feelings about their work, the business, and the processes you use. Giving them a chance to voice their opinions and ideas can help them feel engaged and important to the team. They could have praise, grievances, or actionable ideas about how to increase productivity or improve workflow.
You might consider a recurring meeting—once a month or so—where your team can get together and voice their thoughts and concerns about the business. Some might feel uncomfortable speaking in front of the team about their ideas, so it’s helpful to highlight your openness to speak with them privately. Either way, it’s important to listen to what they say: ask questions, engage in conversation, and take action when necessary.
Hello! I’m Jocelyn Bermudez, founder of Revolutionize Your Work. I am a human ecologist with over 15 years of experience in project management, team development, and sales & marketing. Over the past 5 years, I have shifted my focus to digital marketing and helping organizations find ways to automate and improve their internal processes. I want to revolutionize the way we work and make people's lives better through smart processes and positive marketing that educates and inspires.