How To Engage Remote Employees
One of the challenges that remote work brings is that the employee engagement efforts of an organization get set aside. Without face-to-face interaction, it can be hard to track the productivity of employees and keep them involved in company affairs or activities. This type of work arrangement would require a lot of effort from the management to keep employees engaged, even from a different workspace.
Embracing this remote work setup is also a challenge for employees. Lack of engagement can have a drastic impact on employee performance and productivity. According to Monster, 69% of employees experience burnout with remote work. Since almost all the tasks of remote employees are online, they get to stare at their computer screens all day, making them easily tired.
To manage remote work challenges, company heads have to devise new ways to keep their employees engaged virtually.
Importance of Employee Engagement
Investopedia defined employee engagement as a concept that describes the level of dedication employees feel toward their job as they work on behalf of the company’s goals. Effective employee engagement programs keep members productive and happy. In fact, 21% of companies with high employee engagement are seen to be more profitable.
Naturally, employees would want to stay connected and feel that they belong within an organization. They long to build relationships with their colleagues and stay informed of what is happening in their company.
With remote work, this might be difficult. Some common issues that the management should address are the feeling of isolation and loneliness. These problems stem from the lack of connection with co-workers.
In addition, employees seek recognition and appreciation for their efforts. Remote employees will feel more engaged if they know that they are cared for by the management. Giving them a morale boost, acknowledging their efforts, and showing gratitude and appreciation will go a long way in making your employees happy and satisfied with their jobs.
Tips on Effective on How to Engage Remote Employees
Getting remote employee engagement right is crucial to the success of your business. With this in mind, let us look at different ways to keep your remote employees engaged.
1. Start with the right tools and equipment
On-site employees have access to state-of-the-art technology, which contributes a lot to their work and productivity. On the other hand, remote employees may not have those tools at their disposal.
It is advisable to provide the required tools and equipment for employees rather than let them shoulder the work equipment costs. This is to ensure work quality and avoid delays due to technical issues.
If buying laptops in bulk is not feasible, offering additional compensation or discount plans may suffice. For example, providing an internet allowance will financially assist employees during their remote work to stay connected and productive.
2. Set clear goals and expectations
Some workers may lose their sense of direction and drive to reach intended goals when working remotely. Meanwhile, on-site employees personally have their managers to guide them on the direction they should take and the goals they need to meet.
It can be easy for an employee to get lost in a remote setup because they do not know what to do next and what they should focus on. In these cases, defining and reminding them of their goals should redirect them to their job’s purpose. It is essential to make them aware of the company’s deliverables, metrics, and crucial happenings to realize the bigger picture.
By setting goals for them, remote employees can have a clear direction and the drive to accomplish their tasks. It would be better to set specific expectations for each task and let them know what output is expected from them.
3. Establish an open line of communication
If remote employees work during non-traditional hours or in a different time zone, communication can become challenging. Team members can’t be available 24/7, giving the remote employee a feeling that no one is around when they are and vice versa.
Misunderstandings and miscommunication are most likely to happen when dealing with a remote setting. That’s why it is vital to maintain strong communication with remote employees. Ensure that everyone in the team is on the same page.
Providing effective communication channels for exchanging ideas, brainstorming, or making inputs should be a priority. There are lots of chat and collaboration tools now available such as Slack, Skype, and Zoom.
4. Encourage health and wellness
Employees’ health should be a top priority. When employees get sick, the productivity and overall result of work are affected. Working remotely is usually associated with mental and emotional issues, which could be detrimental to the employees’ overall health.
Companies may incorporate health and wellness programs in the employee engagement plan to ensure their mental and physical well-being. This doesn’t necessarily mean enrolling them in gym memberships, but instead promoting healthy habits like exercising daily and eating correctly. Also, providing wellness ideas such as finding new hobbies that could boost their creativity or spending “me time” during rest days is also great.
Companies must also remind employees that taking time away from work or going on a vacation once in a while is normal and acceptable.
5. Appreciate and recognize their efforts
Employees deserve to feel valued and appreciated. Celebrating small milestones such as project completion, work anniversaries, or birthdays could encourage members to work harder.
Recognition doesn’t have to be monetary or material. Giving positive feedback or recognizing their efforts during meetings or simple praises is enough to impact their morale and engagement significantly.
Simple gestures like saying, “Great job on finishing the task,” can make remote employees feel valued and be inclined to go above and beyond in doing their jobs.
Studies show that workers are less motivated by money but by little things such as acknowledgment, growth opportunities, or more responsibilities. However, organizations must keep in mind that each employee is motivated differently by recognition. This must be considered when creating appreciation and recognition programs.
6. Be proactive and do frequent check-ins
Remote workers need the same support as office-based employees. Being available for communication is important for when they need assistance, clarifications, or encouragement. What team heads can do, for instance, is to schedule a one-on-one meeting to allow an in-depth discussion with the remote employee.
Moreover, employees will not always have issues they want to raise, so leaders must also be proactive. Finding out how employees are feeling or asking simple questions like how are they doing are good conversation starters to know if they have any concerns.
Checking in with remote teams will help companies know their struggles and find solutions to assist them.
7. Establish and build trust
In a remote setting, building trust is one of the most important ingredients for success. Employees should trust their leaders that they are being properly handled, while leaders should also trust their team in doing their jobs.
For remote work to be practical, trust must be incorporated into the company culture. This is one of the challenges in having a remote setup. According to a study, 38% of managers feel that remote workers usually perform worse than on-site employees. In addition, 41% of the respondents doubt that remote workers would remain motivated over time.
This would significantly affect the productivity and quality of work. That’s why leaders need to manage conflicts, be transparent with each other, and provide honest feedback.
8. Schedule small talks
Remote workers will feel isolated or alone without the usual team meetings or socialization. While working remotely, they should be allowed to stay connected with the rest of the team.
Engaging in small talks and keeping in touch can go a long way. During conversations, remote teams can focus on topics that are not work-related, like sharing funny stories, life updates, and others.
This allows members to build a community within the digital environment. It will make them feel comfortable doing remote work and help with building and maintaining strong work relationships.
While working remotely has its fair share of benefits, it also has been a challenge for both workers and the company. Since remote employees are not physically present in the office, they could often feel less engaged and connected to the organization.
That’s why it is important to always make remote employees feel that they are part of the company. Organization leaders must be able to build a strong relationship with their members through constant engagement and effective programs.
Employee engagement should be one of the topmost priorities of every organization. If not handled well, it could lead to employee dissatisfaction, high employee turnover, and work delays.
Working remotely can be an advantage for employees; however, it can also bring challenges to a team. That’s why it is important to keep all employees engaged despite working on a remote setup.
Support Services Group ensures to have a strong relationship with its employees. We keep them updated and engaged with all of the plans and projects by consistently reaching out to them.
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