When COVID-imposed lockdowns first happened in early 2020, a lot of businesses and brands were worried. There were several questions they had to answer regarding their operations – how could their business weather the pandemic? What were the best ways to keep employees safe? How to engage remote employees?
Soon after that, companies had to adopt a hybrid or remote work setup in order to prioritize everyone’s health. And though there was an adjustment period from working in an office to working from home, it slowly became the norm.
Now, employees around the world have gotten used to remote work, especially with the advantages it presents. Companies have also recognized that the needs of remote employees differ from those of on-site workers.
This has created more conversations about the importance of engaging remote employees, as well as the different ways to go about it.
The advantages of remote work
One of the main things that makes remote work favorable is that it provides flexibility. Aside from being able to work from home, employees also get to save time and money that would usually be allocated for commutes to the office.
Implementing a remote work setup can also help employees have more time for themselves and create a better work-life balance. Companies, in turn, get to save on costs from office space rentals and amenities. This gives them the opportunity to invest more into their employees.
For example, providing them with tools that they need for remote work. And when employees see that the company they work for cares about them, they are more likely to perform well at their tasks.
Remote work has also paved the way for asynchronous work, which helps team members complete projects during their own set work times.
This is especially helpful for teams with members all over the world. Also, teams which don’t work in the same time zones.With these benefits, it’s easy to see why a big chunk of the working force prefer the remote setup. With this being said, another question arises: how to engage remote employees?
Importance of engaging remote employees
Before delving into how you can engage with your employees, it’s crucial to understand why it’s important. For one, keeping employees happy and engaged is linked to better performance and increased productivity. So keep on reading if you also looking into how to improve work performance within your team.
A Forbes article shared that teams which work from home struggle less with staying organized at work and are 35-40% more productive than their office counterparts.
Furthermore, they produced better quality output. Remote employee engagement also ensures that even without being physically together, teams can preserve their company culture and still get the support they need, preventing a toxic work culture. This ultimately increases their motivation and keeps the team's morale high.
After pointing out why it’s important to engage with employees, it’s time to learn about effective ways to do so. If you need tips on ways to engage remote employees, then you’ve come to the right place! Read on to learn more about it.
10 ways you can improve remote employee engagement
There are many ways you can engage remote employees, especially if you’re a team manager or supervisor. Some are easy to do, while others may involve tweaking some company processes.
Here are a few ideas you can start with:
1. Be transparent with company plans and goals
If you want to know how to engage remote employees, you should first start by making sure that you have clear company plans and goals. It would also be best to discuss these with your team, be it during your company’s Town Hall or cascaded through different managers.
It’s important that your employees have a clear grasp of the direction your company is taking for several reasons. For one, it helps them better understand why they do the work they do. They see the end goal of their day to day tasks, or at least how it contributes to what everyone is collectively trying to achieve.
Another reason is that transparency helps remove any unnecessary anxieties. If you’re honest with your employees about the company’s goals and what it means for them, they can perform optimally.
2. Practice effective communication
A big factor for a successful remote engagement is effective communication. You should make sure that your channels for communication help your team be more productive. You should also encourage your team to be open in communicating, whether it’s about something positive or negative.
This breeds trust and teamwork, and can help improve the team’s overall dynamic. It’s good to also be aware of best practices for remote communication, especially since it’s vastly different from traditional in-office communication.
To help you out, here’s a list of communication strategies you can use at your workplace. If you are looking for something more specific to the work-from-home setup, here’s how you can promote effective communication with your remote team!
3. Don’t micromanage
No one wants to feel like their manager is breathing down their neck. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to control every aspect of what your team does. Just because you can’t see what your employees are up to all the time, doesn’t mean you should bombard them with messages and update requests.
What you can do instead is use a project management tool that can give you an overview of each team member’s tasks. This way, you’re always updated on their progress, and can avoid making them feel like they have no autonomy on their work.
4. Minimize meetings
Don’t you hate it when you attend a meeting with a topic that could have been easily discussed asynchronously? Avoid this situation by only setting meetings when necessary. This will help your remote team focus on their tasks more, and will save everyone valuable time.
Set meetings for creative discussions, 1:1's or coffee chats with team members you don't see often. In a traditional office setup, it’s easier to quickly check on who’s working on what. But in a remote setting, managers or supervisors should take the initiative to check with team members, for example, once a week.
For more formal meetings, try one of these meeting agenda examples, whereas for coffee chats showing up is enough.This shows your employees that you care, and is a great way to promote remote worker engagement.
Pro-tip: You can better stay in tune with your employees by using effective check-in questions for meetings!
5. Adjust mental health policies
If you want to know how to engage remote employees effectively, you have to put yourself in their shoes. This includes thinking about their mental health. Working at home comes with its own challenges, like setting home life and work boundaries.
Since you can’t physically see your team, adjust your mental health policies to accommodate the remote setup. Find ways to understand how they’re feeling, and be empathetic when they do talk about their mental health.
It would also be beneficial if your company can offer wellness programs, free mental health services, or even a mental health day off.
6. Create space for social interactions
Just because you have a remote team, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make time for socializing.
Try creating social hours or virtual team building activities. You can also look into digital virtual cooler spaces, digital co-working spaces and pop ups to celebrate different holidays. This is a good way to boost remote team engagement and get to know your team better.
Just remember to keep these activities diverse so that it can cater to different personalities in the company. Another thing to note is that you should keep these virtual social gatherings voluntary. Making them mandatory may just backfire, and have the opposite effect of what you intended.
7. Have a place to share feedback
If you’re looking for ways on how to keep remote employees engaged, getting frequent feedback is something you should consider. That’s because engaging remote employees also entails listening to them.
Always provide platforms and channels for feedback – whether it’s on company processes or the dynamics of the team. This can be done through polls, anonymous surveys or other features.
To make sure that employees feel that your feedback channels are safe spaces, you can even opt for anonymous submissions. This way, they will not see the need to sugarcoat their thoughts.
Getting honest feedback can greatly help your company optimize its processes. You may even get ideas for improvement that you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of!
8. Engage remote employees by celebrating wins
Working remotely has its perks, but it can also get tiring. That’s why it’s important to always celebrate your team’s wins – both big and small. If you’re looking at how to engage employees virtually, this is one of the best ways to do so!
Celebrating wins and recognizing the efforts of your team can be a big boost to company’s morale. This is especially true when everyone is adjusting to a relatively new work setup. Be intentional in celebrating your team, whether it’s for hitting a target, winning a pitch, or just powering through a tough week.
By showing your team that you care about them and their milestones, you create a pleasant, healthy, and productive work environment.
9. Improve your onboarding process
Starting a new job can be intimidating, especially if an employee is coming into a company with a remote setup. Make your new employees feel welcomed from the start by improving your onboarding process.
Things like walking through your communication channels and giving tips for getting to know the team remotely can make a big impact. Setting up a complete 90 day plan for new hires can make joining the team a much smoother process, especially when working remotely.
Give your new employees proper time and space to familiarize themselves with your work-from-home processes. Because onboardings are usually done via video call, take note of these virtual meeting best practices to ensure a pleasant and efficient meeting.
Doing these little things can boost the remote engagement of your new employees, and encourage them to be more invested in the company throughout their stay.
10. Reduce context switching by keeping communication in one place
Having scattered and complex channels for communication can make remote work more difficult. Furthermore, it can hinder proper communication and discourage employees from engaging with other team members.
After all, having to juggle a messaging app, your email, a video call app, and a task management app can get hectic. A solution for this would be to keep all your communications in one place.
Thankfully, there are all-in-one platforms like Rock that make this possible. With Rock, teams can find chat, tasks, notes, topics and files functionalities under one application. This makes everything more convenient, and promotes easy and seamless cross functional collaboration.
Keep your weekly to do list template, meeting agendas, conversations, tasks and so much more on one platform with all-in-one functionality.
Invest in keeping remote employees engaged
Those are just some of our tips on how to engage remote employees. Keeping employees happy and involved even while working from home creates a win-win situation. When both company productivity and morale are high, your business operates as efficiently as it can.
Keep in mind that what works in the traditional office setup may not be as effective when working remotely. You might need to make some adjustments while your team works from home, but it will all be worth it in the long run.
To make sure you have a solid foundation for remote work, start by choosing Rock which is an all-in-one task management and communication tool. Easily keep track of tasks, connect with team members, and work asynchronously with ease. Interested in using Rock? Get started today for free!