In an age where the workforce is increasingly dispersed, finding ways to engage remote employees is more important than ever. A recent study by Gallup found that only 31 percent of employees in the U.S. are engaged in their work, while 13 percent are actively disengaged.
A lack of engagement, especially among remote teams, can lead to numerous problems, including decreased productivity and motivation, higher levels of absenteeism, and increased turnover.
So how can you engage your remote employees? If you're looking for how to increase engagement and productivity among your team, read on!
The challenges of engaging remote employees
There are many benefits to remote working, but also several significant drawbacks that can impact employee engagement.
One of the fundamental challenges is the lack of face-to-face interaction. This can result in feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can, in turn, hurt motivation and productivity.
Another challenge is that, without the structure of an office environment, it can be easy for employees to become disengaged with their work. This is especially true if they feel like their work isn't meaningful or they're not being given enough responsibility.
Another challenge is building trust with remote employees can be difficult. This is because there are fewer opportunities for informal interactions and building relationships.
Finally, it can be hard to manage and monitor remote employees without the right tools and processes in place. This can make it challenging to give feedback or provide support when needed.
In short, without taking steps to increase engagement within remote teams, businesses can lose out on talent, struggle to build trust, and lack motivation and productivity. These factors can also lead to higher employee churn rates, costing businesses time and money.
Thankfully, there are several ways to engage remote employees, and we've got nine of the best for you here. By implementing some or all of these ideas, you can start to see improvements in your remote team's engagement levels. And, as a result, their productivity and motivation too.
So let's take a look at how to engage remote employees:
9 tips for engaging remote employees
Every business will have different needs when it comes to engaging its remote employees. But there are some tried and tested approaches that can work for any company, no matter the industry or size.
Here are nine proven ways to engage your remote employees:
Keep people updated
Keeping people looped in on what's happening in the business is a great way to engage them.
Make sure you keep your remote employees updated on everything from new product launches to changes in company policy. This will help them feel like they're part of the team, even if they're not in the office.
You can do this by sending out regular emails, setting up a dedicated Slack channel or holding regular video calls.
Support personal and professional well-being
Loneliness and isolation are real risks for remote workers.
Make sure you're supporting your employees' personal and professional well-being by providing resources like mental health support, career coaching, and financial planning services. This will illustrate that you care about their whole selves, not just their productivity.
You can also create a sense of community by planning social events or arranging for regular check-ins with managers and colleagues.
Help people feel empowered
Staff empowerment is one of the most significant yet often overlooked aspects of successfully engaging a remote workforce.
Make sure your employees feel they have the autonomy to do their jobs well by providing them with the necessary resources and support. This includes access to training and development opportunities and clear lines of communication with management.
Encourage feedback and give employees a voice in decision-making processes to help them feel truly invested in the company's success.
Help them feel part of the company culture
Giving your remote workers a sense of belonging is crucial to engagement.
Make an effort to include them in social activities, both within and outside of work. This could be anything from arranging regular video calls with the whole team to organizing social events for remote employees who are based near each other.
Encourage employees to share their photos, stories and interests with the rest of the team to help everyone get to know each other personally. And don't forget to celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries!
You can also adapt your company culture to suit a remote workforce. For example, you could create an online space where employees can share their work and give each other feedback. This is a great way to promote collaboration and knowledge-sharing within the team.
Finally, remember that communication is key when engaging a remote workforce. Keep the lines of communication open, and ensure everyone knows how to reach you if they need to.
Encourage remote employees to keep in touch with each other
One of the downsides of remote working is the lack of those water cooler moments – those informal chats that help build relationships.
If your employees work remotely, encourage them to communicate with each other through video conferencing or instant messaging. This will help them feel more connected to their colleagues and make it easier for them to collaborate on projects.
Make sure everyone's voices are heard
In a remote team, it's easy for some voices to get drowned out.
Make sure everyone has an opportunity to speak and be heard by using video conferencing or instant messaging for team meetings. This will help ensure that everyone feels that their opinions are valued.
Do fun activities to engage remote employees
Just because your employees are working remotely doesn't mean they can't socialize with each other outside of work.
Encourage them to interact with each other on social media or set up a group chat where they can share photos and stories about their lives. This will help them build relationships and will make them feel more connected to each other.
Schedule hybrid working to maximize connection
Hybrid working, where employees work both inside and outside the office, can be a great way to engage remote employees. This way, they can have the best of both worlds – the flexibility of working from home and the opportunity to interact with their colleagues in person.
Use communication tools to support and boost engagement
Communication tools like Slack can be a great way to engage remote employees.
They can be used to share news and announcements, ask questions and start conversations. Tools like these can help to foster a sense of community and belonging, even for remote employees. By making use of these tools, you can help to keep everyone on the same page and ensure everyone feels like they are a member of the team.
By following these tips, you can overcome some of the challenges of managing a remote workforce. Creating a positive and engaged culture will not only lead to a happier staff, but it will also improve productivity and results for your business. So it's definitely worth the effort!
How to stay engaged working from home
There are also some steps that staff can take themselves to stay engaged while working from home. Here are a few ideas:
Carve out a dedicated workspace
Having a specific place to work can help you to stay focused and avoid distractions. If possible, try to set up your workspace away from other household activities and noise.
Set boundaries between work and home
Don't let work take over your life! It's important to set boundaries between work and home and stick to them. That might mean setting definite hours for work or only checking emails at certain times of the day.
Deal with distractions
We all have distractions when working from home. Whether it's the TV, family members or our own thoughts, try to deal with them head-on. If you can't concentrate because of noise, try using earplugs or headphones.
If you're finding it hard to stay on task, break your day into smaller chunks and set yourself mini-goals to achieve. And if you're struggling with distractions from family members, explain to them why it's important for you to focus and ask them for their support.
Look after your well-being
Attending regular team meetings and keeping in touch with colleagues can help you feel part of a team, even when you're working remotely. But it's also essential to look after your own well-being. So make sure you take regular breaks, eat healthy meals and get enough exercise. And if you're feeling isolated or down, don't hesitate to reach out to your friends and family for support.
Organize your time
Organization is key when working remotely. Make sure you have a clear plan for each day and week, and try to stick to it as much as possible. If you find yourself getting distracted, set some ground rules for yourself. For example, only check social media during your lunchbreak or only work on one task at a time.
Make regular check-ins a priority
Regular contact with your team is vital for maintaining a sense of connection and purpose. Schedule regular check-ins, whether that's daily, weekly or monthly. And make sure you use this time to not only catch up on work but also to socialize and build relationships.
If you're feeling lonely, try to reframe your thinking. For example, loneliness can be an opportunity to focus on your work and get lost in what you're doing. You can also try to create opportunities for socializing, even if it's just virtually. For example, have a virtual coffee break with a colleague or join an online networking group.
Let Outstaffer.com connect you with the best global talent
When you know how to engage remote workers, you can make use of a huge global talent pool.
At Outstaffer.com, we take care of the red tape to make it easy to find, hire and employ top talent from around the world. We handle the HR and liability so you can focus on employee engagement and keeping your remote team connected.
If you're looking to leverage the global talent pool and put your remote work engagement skills to the test, get in touch. Contact us today to learn more.