Remote work is clearly here to stay, at least on some level for most organizations. You may be back to "Virtual First" or working in a "hybrid " environment. However, while remote work has many advantages, it also has its own set of challenges. One of which is the struggle to collaborate and communicate. Buffer.com's State of Remote Report for the last three years has shown Collaborating and Communicating and Loneliness as the top two challenges of remote workers – employees and managers alike. This was a problem before the pandemic, but now it is exaggerated by the need to change the way we work. This presents an opportunity for businesses to be proactive and change the way they engage their people.
Companies want to create a virtual workplace culture for their remote teams now more than ever. While remote work is not new, the majority of workers have never seen a successful, smooth working remote workplace. We have all started at the same level of experience here. Some are beginning to build successful processes and coaching their people as to what it is like to productively work from home.
To help your remote employees engage, it takes more than perks and remote happy hours. Engaging employees who work remotely requires a strategic approach as well as a long-term commitment to your people.
When companies invest in the long-term success and engagement of their remote employees, they are rewarded with happier, more productive employees who are in it for the long haul.
Here are three ideas to help you better engage your remote workforce.
Show your employees that you care.
Create meaningful relationships with your remote employees and give them the freedom to strike a balance. Work has infringed, yet again, on our home lives, blurring the lines between personal life and work life. Set healthy boundaries around schedules, assignments, and performance expectations to respect their time. Be a good role model.
Make time to talk with them about:
Plan online team-building activities.
You can organize online team-building events as a company to keep spirits high and foster bonds between your remote employees. This combats Buffer.com's second reoccurring struggle – Loneliness. Among the possibilities are:
These are excellent ways to unwind while interacting with coworkers and strengthening workplace relationships. All of available via your chosen virtual collaboration tool such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
Recognize the contributions of your employees.
Remote workers put in more hours than their in-office counterparts, but they frequently do not see the link of their contributions to the greater goals or projects. Update meetings are great, but this can be enhanced by publicly acknowledging the contributions. This will help your team see how each of their contributions cumulate in a tangible result. It shows you see the value and appreciate their efforts in these difficult times.
According to research, employee recognition is the most important driver of employee engagement. Use an online recognition platform to enable every employee to view, comment on, and award recognition. Your team members will feel more connected, appreciated, and valued when they receive regular recognition from their peers and managers.
It is clear that remote work is here to stay and will only grow in the coming years, making expanding how you manage and engage your remote employees more important than ever. Fortunately, there are numerous methods for engaging remote employees.
Let's talk about your particular team and see what we can strategize together. Use these tips to start a conversation and begin to reap the benefits of a remote workforce while keeping your team happy, healthy, and productive throughout the year.