Engaging Remote Employees: 15 Strategies Enterprises Should Consider

A Gallup research study has found that more than half (54%) of office workers would change their jobs if they could find one offering more flexibility. Job flexibility — including working remotely at least some of the time — increases employee engagement, according to Gallup.

LumApps for Remote Working
Engaged Remote Employee with Computer

What is Remote Working?

Remote working refers to a means of working outside of the traditional place of business. Someone who works remotely may work from a home office, a co-working space, or a coffee shop. They may also come into the company office occasionally. Most remote employees use digital workplace technology to stay up to speed with their employers.

 

Benefits of Working Remotely

Why would a business want to encourage remote working? Here are some of the benefits of this option.

Lower Commute Times

If an employee has to spend time on a stressful commute before they even get to work, they will likely need some time to settle down and focus before they can start their daily routine. When an employee works from home, they can walk to their work area and arrive there quickly and (hopefully) fresh and ready to start work immediately.

More Independent Employees

Employees who work remotely have more flexibility in how they work. In an office setting, they are required to sit in a certain location and must keep their desk reasonably neat. Not everyone does their best work that way, though. Some people prefer to sit on a sofa or even sprawled out on the floor in their pajamas with papers strewn about to get their work done.

Access to a Larger Candidate Pool

For recruiting purposes, having access to a larger pool of prospective employees is a good thing. It means you have more applications to choose from and ideally, better candidates to evaluate when there is an opening at the company. Why limit hiring to only local candidates when you can potentially open up your hiring nationwide (or further) to find the right person for a position?

Lower Office Costs

Commercial real estate is quite expensive. The more employees who actually take up physical space in an office, the more square footage has to be allotted for them. A remote workforce is much more economical to manage from this standpoint.

 

Tools for Remote Workers

The benefits of employing a remote team are many, but what tools are needed to engage remote employees? Here are a few key areas to invest in:

Team Communication

E-mail can be used to communicate with co-workers, but it can be slow in some instances. A tool that allows for instant messaging (i.e. Slack) can be a better option since it allows employees to send questions and get responses quickly. Internal communities on a company’s intranet can also serve an important purpose.

Presentations and Meetings

When considering ideas for keeping remote employees engaged, using video conferencing for presentations and meetings are two ways for all team members to feel included in what is happening with the company.

Project Management

It can be challenging to keep on top of your own “To Do” list when working in the same office as your colleagues. It can be even more difficult trying to do the same thing when you are working in a different time zone! A good project management solution helps to keep all team members on track no matter where they are located.

File Sharing

When colleagues are not necessarily working face-to-face, they can still share files quickly and efficiently. Several online tools for file storing and sharing are available and integrated with top productivity suites.

Read more: 10 Essential Tools to Support Your Digital Transformation

 

 

How to Keep Remote Employees Engaged

For anyone who manages a remote team, part of the job entails finding creative ways to engage remote employees. Ideally, employees should feel just as part of the team as workers who come into the office — because they are. These employees may not be able to chat with their colleagues around the water cooler, but they can still be interested in their work, communicate effectively and feel positive about their contributions to the company.

 

1. Create a Company Culture of Connectedness

Employees often feel as though they belong to the group of people they work with. Managers should set the tone of a welcoming workplace that recognizes all employees.

One way to encourage employees to be authentic is simple: take a bit of time at the start of a meeting (i.e. while waiting for someone to join the call) to have some casual conversation. Simple ways for co-workers to get to know each other on a more personal basis lead to more understanding of events happening in each other’s lives regardless of location.

 

2. Host Virtual Classes and Events

Hosting activities to engage remote employees can also help. Each team is as unique as the people who are in it. What works for one group may fall flat with another one.

Some groups will enjoy participating in trivia games or online treasure hunts, while others will enjoy virtual cooking classes, painting, learning how to care for plants, or sharing their love of books. Another employee engagement idea for remote employees is to bring in a singer or comedian to perform virtually for your team. This is a good way to raise everyone’s spirits if the team has been feeling low or to celebrate reaching a goal.

 

3. Ensure Team Members Access an Up-To-Date Company Intranet

Another best practice for engaging remote employees is to ensure that all team members have access to and participate on the intranet since it is the main internal communication method for most enterprises. Employees can use it to read company news, find out about their benefits, and participate in communities with co-workers.

An intranet also acts as an online library for company knowledge. If a remote worker has a question or a concern, they can find an answer. Intranet features like messaging can also enable communication to flow smoothly anytime.

 

LumApps Intranet Platform

 

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4. Communicate Regularly with Remote Employees

Everyone can picture the manager who only interacts with team members when it is time to criticize something about their work.

Instead, managers must make a point of formally checking in with team members regularly and set clear requirements and expectations for tasks. Encouraging two-way communication so that remote employees can ask for help before a minor setback turns into a large problem is also important. Varying communication channels such as one-on-one chats, video calls, team meetings, and group message boards based on individual style can also lead to better sharing of ideas and feedback.

 

5. Schedule Virtual Coffee Breaks

In a brick-and-mortar office, people stop by a colleague’s desk and invite them to go for a coffee break. It’s a good way for co-workers to get to know each other and has been shown to increase employee engagement. How can companies implement this strategy to keep remote employees engaged? Managers can schedule or request virtual coffee breaks!

What is a virtual coffee break? These are short video calls, approximately 15-30 minutes long. During this time, employees get together for casual conversation and to enjoy a cup of coffee. To be successful, a virtual coffee break might be scheduled in advance and be limited to a small group of people so that everyone has a chance to participate.

 

6. Recognize Employee Achievements

One of the best ways to engage remote employees as well as those who work in the main office is to recognize them for their work. This strategy boosts individual employee engagement, company loyalty, and productivity. It also leads to higher retention rates.

An easy way to recognize employees for their work is to create an intranet post to celebrate goals being met and employees who show extraordinary effort.

 

LumApps Intranet Recognition Center

LumApps Intranet Recognition Center

 

7. Build Relationships with Remote Employee Engagement Surveys

Do you know what kinds of challenges your remote team members are facing? One of the best ways to learn about them in aggregate is to administer employee engagement surveys regularly. The results will reveal whether any issues need to be addressed. They will also show the areas where a company is doing well regarding remote employees compared to their office counterparts.

The surveys give employees the chance to express themselves openly. They may not feel free to do so during a team meeting or even during a one-on-one chat with their manager. Sending out surveys regularly to keep track of how remote employees feel about their jobs can help managers deal with any issues promptly.

 

8. Encourage Employees to Pursue Side Projects

Allowing employees to spend a certain amount of their time working on side projects, as long as they align with company goals, is a proven way to boost engagement. This policy encourages more innovation in business and keeps employees excited about their main roles. Companies like Google allow employees to devote 20% of their time at work toward creating new products outside their function.

Jooble has a similar policy, allowing its workers to use 10% of their time on new projects. Employees have the flexibility to divide this time into four hours each week, two days per month, or 12 days every six months.

Read more: 22 Employee Engagement Ideas and Strategies for Companies

 

9. Ask Remote Workforce For Feedback

Communication is supposed to be a two-way street. It’s crucial to listen to employees and ensure that they are heard. Asking remote team members what they think about their schedule, how to reach the goals set for their team, what they think should be done to increase customer satisfaction rates, and more is simple but effective.

 

10. Give New Hires Additional Training and Support

If a new hire runs into difficulty in the office, they can get help by approaching a co-worker at a nearby desk. The same is not true if a new remote worker has a problem. They may struggle to feel that they are a part of the team.

A few easy steps can make sure that the onboarding process includes additional communication so that new hires feel comfortable. Remote employees should have personalized access to applications and training documents on the company’s intranet immediately, along with the name and contact information of one or more people they can go to with questions or concerns. Managers should also confirm they have all the tools and equipment required to do their job.

 

Use the Right Tools

 

11. Make Sure Remote Workers Have the Tools for Success

Remote employees are just like their office counterparts in that they need to focus. Consider asking if they have a home office available where they can work with minimal distractions. If not, consider offering a stipend toward the cost of a co-working space where your employee can focus on their work.

When offering development opportunities to your employees, make sure that remote workers are included. Many courses can be taken online that will benefit your employees and qualify them for more senior positions in their field.

 

12. Encourage Social Interaction

Working remotely has many benefits for employees. The main drawback remote employees describe, though, is feeling left out or lonely. Draw in your remote team members by including them in video chats and virtual team-building exercises with your in-house staff.

If possible, plan in-person company get-togethers that your remote employees can attend at least once a year. This will allow in-house and remote employees to get to know each other personally. It will also strengthen their professional and personal connections.

 

13. Show Remote Employees Care

It’s important to build good relationships with employees who work at a distance. Respect their time by ensuring that you check the local time before contacting them for a chat to ensure that you are not interfering with their family life or outside interests. Ask how they are managing their workload and if they are feeling an unusual level of stress. If so, talk about the coping resources available so that the employee can avoid burnout.

Another idea is to send remote workers a care package for their birthday every year. They won’t be in the office to celebrate, but that doesn’t mean their day can’t be remembered with a card and a small gift.

 

Integration Slack LumApps

Easy Communication with the LumApps Slack Integration

 

14. Empower Remote Workers to Make Decisions

One of the best ways to engage remote employees is to give them the power to make decisions within the sphere of their work. Allowing them to implement their ideas — always keeping their team leaders in the loop — is a great way to improve engagement.

An employee who can do their work with a certain degree of independence will feel more empowered on the job. They will be more satisfied with their work, their co-workers and managers and the employee’s performance at work will reflect this.

 

15. Offer Opportunities for Career Growth

Remote workers may have concerns that “out of sight means out of mind” when it comes to being considered for advancement within the company. Proactive notifications when positions open up that they might be interested in and other thoughtful alerts can help.

Often, talking to remote employees about their career path within the company is the best approach. Make a plan with the employee to work toward their career goals. Be open about the resources the company can offer in the same way you would with an in-house employee. If someone can see where their hard work is going, they can get excited about their contribution to the business.

 

Remote working refers to a means of working outside of the traditional place of business. Someone who works remotely may work from a home office, a co-working space, or a coffee shop. They may also come into the company office occasionally. Most remote employees use digital workplace technology to stay up to speed with their employers.

  • Lower Commute Times
  • More Independent Employees
  • Access to a Larger Candidate Pool
  • Lower Office Costs

All the benefits for Employees & Employers

  • Create a Company Culture of Connectedness
  • Host Virtual Classes and Events
  • Ensure Team Members Access an Up-To-Date Company Intranet
  • Communicate Regularly with Remote Employees
  • Schedule Virtual Coffee Breaks

See all the strategies

Author

Asya Stamenova
Brand Content Writer

Category

Digital Workplace Employee Engagement Employee Experience Remote Working

Published on

January 13, 2021