Only 55% of employees work in the office 100% of the time and more and more employees actively seek this benefit when looking at an employer. All of this remote work can make for some tricky engagement issues.
On the one hand, remote working and flexible scheduling allow employees more autonomy to manage themselves and their workflow and to schedule their work time when they will be most productive. Studies show remote workers are actually 20% more productive than their in-office counterparts.
On the other hand, two primary engagement drivers are camaraderie and collaboration. Workers who are removed from the physical workplace have fewer opportunities for casual interaction with their managers and coworkers. Over time, this can lead remote workers to feel isolated, less valued, and less engaged with their job, their team, and their company. Even if you’ve recruited the best remote employees in the global talent pool, they may not be doing their “best stuff.”
Here are some actionable tips to ensure your remote workforce is aligned with—and enthusiastic about—their contribution to the organization.
Leverage technology to stay in touch. With effective use of teleconferencing, online meetings, and file-sharing services, you can establish informal communication with your remote workers. Encourage offsite employees to contact you with questions or let them know you’ll check in with them from time to time, just to touch base or have a conversation.
Always include remote workers in onsite meetings. There’s a tendency to forget or overlook remote team members in your weekly or biweekly staff meetings. Get these meetings on their calendar so they can actively participate with ideas and feedback. This makes them feel like part of a team. When you’re handing out assignments, brainstorming, or discussing solutions to problems, remember to include remote employees in the process.
Schedule face-to-face meetings. It may not always be practical, but particularly with newly hired remote employees, look for opportunities to schedule a face-to-face meeting either in the workplace or where the remote employee is based. Even a single in-person encounter helps cement a successful working relationship and lays the groundwork for engagement attitude.
Keep them informed. Maintaining contact through a regularly scheduled internal newsletter is a great way to boost employee engagement. Content for the newsletter can range from informative (news about product launches, companywide initiatives) to informal (holiday greetings, updates on physical renovations). Consider spotlighting an employee with each issue, so workers learn new things about their team members, either remote or onsite.
Incorporate recognition of employee contributions and milestones. Salute remote workers’ efforts in staff meetings. When an employment milestone occurs, send them an e-card or offer a digital rewards program where they can choose a gift online. Make sure their efforts don’t go unrecognized. These efforts reinforce the sense among your virtual workforce that “we’re all in this together.”
These tips illustrate the most important methods for engaging employees anywhere—in house or around the world. They’re all about open communication and creating conversations. These traits are important no matter where your employees work.
To learn more about engaging employees near and far, check out our webinar.