Remote working has been on the rise for years, but over the past 12 months the number of people working remotely has increased dramatically due to the global pandemic. With the advancement of technology the transition to working from home has been much easier, but there are still challenges which remote workers are facing. Are you engaging remote workers within your organisation?
Many organisations and workers are realising the benefits of remote working, where they tend to be more productive, engaged and happier, but managing a team of remote workers is not always easy. So, how can you be sure your workers are engaged, no matter where they are working?
Take a look at our top 5 tips for engaging remote workers
Tip 1 – Utilise technology throughout your organisation
Whether your employees work remotely full time or have had to work from home due to the global pandemic, it is important to ensure they have the correct technology available that they would if they were in the office. Technology is the most important factor when it comes to staying connected with your remote workers. Using technology to communicate with your employees ensures you have a mutual platform to connect on, beyond using email, such as Microsoft Teams or Google Meet.
Organising social calls can be just as important to employees are corporate calls. Many remote workers can often feel isolated and disoriented, especially those who are not used to working from home. Try to include relaxed calls to foster an in-office conversation, but online through coffee catch up calls and team quizzes. This allows to foster personal connections, where isolation can be one of the biggest challenges for remote workers.
Do your employees have the right technology to complete their job role? Employees working remotely without the correct technology can cause barriers to completing their requirements. Consider if employees are able to take home equipment they need? Are you asking your remote workers if they need anything? Some remote workers might not be aware of what is available to them for working remotely and knowing they can take home their screen, get access to a better office chair or work phone could be the difference between an employee thriving or struggling whilst working remotely.
Tip 2 – Support your new hires
An efficient onboarding process is essential to delivering a seamless and positive introduction for each new employee within your organisation. This should be no different when it comes to remote workers, where it is often more crucial to provide a slick onboarding experience as it really needs to embody your employer brand, ethos and culture. Relationships between employees and the relationship between you and your employees is more difficult to build and grow organically, like it would in an office environment. You need to support your remote workers to feel connected with other employees, broaden company culture and make them feel like an integrated part of the team.
Have you considered your remote workers when collating the onboarding materials? Are you utilising the value of video to provide your training? Consider how your remote workers will view your onboarding materials, where they are unable to go into the office. Videos are more engaging for your employees compared to reading pages and pages of writing.
In a physical workplace, onboarding often includes a walk around including introductions to the various people in your own department and others. This is much more difficult to do when the employee works remotely, but you still need to ensure they feel a part of the team. You could make the introductions virtual, by setting up a group call, or planning a virtual coffee catch up, helping to build relationships between employees in a casual setting.
One of our client’s ClickThrough Marketing top onboarding tip: Communicating with your new employees is essential in the onboarding process, but you need to ensure this communication is 2-way and you are gathering feedback from them. If you haven’t heard from them in a while, you can’t see this as assuring you that they’re ok, check in on them and organise regular 1 to 1 meetings. Employees who feel support from management are more likely to be engaged, which increases productivity.
Tip 3 – Encourage health and wellness
Do you encourage your employees to take regular breaks during the working day? Supporting the personal and wellbeing of your remote workers can increase engagement and productivity. Employees who are now working from home, but would usually be in an office for example, may have spare time through a reduced commute time. Is there any training they could now focus on? *Include the benefits of health and wellness on engaging workers*
Do you have any incentives for employees to prioritise their wellness throughout the working day? Encourage your employees to go outside and get some fresh air to ensure they are not stuck at their desk staring at their desk all day. You could start some friendly competition between employees in the number of steps they complete during the day, week or month. Creating healthy habits can be encouraged through well-being programmes such as 30 days of yoga, or one month of daily walks. This can support the health of your employees and brings them together to complete a challenge or create some friendly competition.
It is important that you’re supporting both personal and professional wellbeing of your remote workers. When you are checking in with employees, are your questions based only around work? Do you check how they are doing personally? One of the biggest challenges for remote workers is feeling isolated, so checking they are doing well is important for engagement. An employee who feels supported at work, even when working remotely, is more likely to be more engaged, therefore increasing their productivity.
Committing to encouraging health and wellness best practice not only supports, engages and empowers your team, but promotes retention and externally can boost your employer profile for candidate attraction.
Tip 4 – Open communication is key
Do you know what challenges your remote workers are facing? Building and maintaining strong relationships with your remote employees can be difficult, especially if they’re not used to working remotely. Remote workers may be facing different challenges compared to those who don’t, but unless you ask, you won’t know what these challenges are.
Examples of questions you could be asking your remote workers;
- What is your biggest remote work challenge?
- How can we improve your experience whilst working remotely?
- How can I improve our daily communication?
Do your remote employees know exactly what is expected of them whilst working from home? Communicating clear expectations and requirements is essential for ensuring high engagement among the remote workers in your organisation. Encourage two way communication between you and your employees, ask for feedback from employees on their tasks and projects, and provide an opportunity for them to share ideas. Ask yourself what can you be doing more to support your remote workers? Employees need to know what is expected of them, and be accountable for doing their job, without feeling like they are being constantly watched, which could lead to further distress and discontent.
Tip 5 – Give recognition
Recognition for the hard work of your employees is essential to boost engagement, regardless of whether they work remotely or not. Recognition plays an essential role in increasing engagement in employees. Those employees who feel they are not appreciated for their contributions to your organisation, can become unmotivated.
Start a conversation with your employees, regularly checking in and asking what they are working on, what they’ve accomplished, achievements, completed tasks and any successes to celebrate. This will give you the opportunity to understand any barriers they are facing at work, as well as give them recognition for their efforts and successes.
Giving recognition to your employees accomplishments doesn’t need to be a big gesture, but even sending out an email, text or chat to employees to thank them for their contributions to the organisation can really boost morale and engagement at work. Even small measures can greatly improve employee engagement.
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