Remote working has been on the rise for the past few years; however, the global pandemic accelerated this trend, and in the present, the post pandemic workplace has adapted and businesses have continued to implement the remote working (or hybrid) model. This is due to research which shows that most employees’ productivity increased whilst working from home and thus, both employers and employees wanted to maintain some form of remote working post-pandemic.
Despite the fact that overall remote working is a success, it also comes with its own challenges. One of these challenges is keeping remote employees engaged.
Here are 7 tips to help boost engagement in remote employees.
1. Stay connected
Staying connected whilst working remotely might seem self-evident. However, establishing a communication structure is a simple yet salient strategy to having engaged remote teams. This can take the form of using technology as a communicative channel, scheduling daily check-ins or weekly one-on-ones – not only to catch up on the work on goings but also to check-in on the employees themselves. This can help foster a sense of inclusion and goes to show that the management cares about its employees.
2. Ditch micromanagement
Remote working might still be a grey area for some; this is due to the misconception that working from home results in employees slacking off work and in response to this, managers might fall into the trap of micromanaging. Unfortunately, this management style drives down engagement, motivation and trust.
To avoid falling into this style of management, we recommend two methods to managing remote employees:
- Set goals and expectations
A discussion should take place so that everyone is aware of what is expected from them; employees with a clear list of goals and expectations would be more motivated to meet them.
- Find different ways of measuring performance
Instead of constantly asking remote employees for updates, a system should be set in place in order for everyone to be accountable. Ideally, performance is measured on output rather than time sat in front of their PC. This shows employees that there is trust.
3. Encourage feedback
Feedback is a strong driver of engagement and ideally, it should go both ways; providing feedback and constructive criticism to employees helps them reach their full potential whilst asking them for feedback demonstrates that you believe their opinion matters. Peer-to-peer feedback might also be something worth considering; not only does this method provide an opportunity to boost engagement, but also feedback amongst colleagues could appear more honest, less intimidating and as a result, there would be an inclination to acting on it.
4. Reward and celebrate employee accomplishments
Employee recognition goes a long way. Although it is harder to implement when having a remote team, there are various ways through which employees can be recognised and celebrated – both professionally and personally. These include but are not limited to:
- Acknowledging personal events and accomplishments such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and more;
- Thanking employees via team video calls;
- Mailing a simple yet thoughtful signed note or card from managers to show appreciation or to celebrate an accomplishment;
- Employee of the Month programs.
Such activities would help employees feel appreciated and valued thus, motivating them to engage and contribute more to the company.
5. Prioritise wellness
Remote working blurs the line between work and home which might have a negative effect on one’s mental health as it becomes harder to disconnect. We recommend instilling the importance of unplugging and maintaining healthy boundaries to create a work-life balance.
It is worth noting that mental health and physical wellbeing are linked. Encouraging positive activities such as getting enough sleep, drinking more water, healthy eating, taking a short walk during the lunch break or even offer fitness subsidies supports in creating an engaged company culture.
6. Create opportunities for career growth
Every employee seeks growth in the workplace and those who work remotely are no different. To keep remote employees engaged, one needs to create a clear path for growth and career advancement in order for employees to be able to visualise a future within the company. Employers can offer online courses and training for employees to better their personal growth. This could also take the form of mentoring; more seasoned employees can mentor newer employees which results in more engagement and also the fostering of fresh perspectives when working with other colleagues. Employees who strive to learn and better themselves are an asset to a business, even when working remotely.
7. Foster social interaction
Remote working can leave employees feeling cut off and isolated from their colleagues. A practical step to uphold the sense of community one would otherwise find in an office environment would be to foster social interaction amongst employees by organising virtual coffee breaks, get-togethers and events such as quizzes and discussions. If there is the possibility of organising occasional in-person meet-ups, this could also be beneficial for the purpose of office workers and remote employees getting to know each other.
Employees tend to be more engaged when there is a feeling of belonging to a team. Therefore, it is the employer’s responsibility to eliminate the feeling that remote employees are on the outside looking in and ensure that employees engage with one another.
Remote work is here to stay and if you look at the above strategies, it ultimately adds up to giving the same opportunities to remote employees as if they were working in an office environment. Remote working offers many benefits to both employers and employees and taking the above tips in consideration might lead to a better virtual workplace for both sides.
On the other hand, if you, as an employer currently do not offer the possibility of remote or hybrid work, we encourage you to assess your current workplace model and evaluate the advantageous and disadvantageous effect transitioning towards a newer way of working would have on your business and employees.
VC (VacancyCentre) is a leading recruitment agency in Malta, facilitating the resourcing of talent needed by organisations of all sizes with particular specialisation within certain industry disciplines, namely Finance, Compliance & Technology.
To find out more about how partnering with us can help your company’s recruitment needs, do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]