Just like in a traditional office setup, employee engagement in a remote setup is essential in improving employee experience and job satisfaction. But keeping remote employees engaged is easier said than done. For starters, working in isolation can limit a worker’s creativity, derail motivation, and reduce their productivity. You will agree that uncreative and unmotivated employees are the hardest to keep engaged and, when disengaged, their work-life balance can easily tilt to the detriment of their work life. That is why employers must put in extra effort to ensure that remote workers don’t lose focus of their core responsibilities, not even for a minute. That being said, here are 8 sure engagement ideas for remote workers.
1. Stick to the letter and spirit of flexible working
The beauty of working remotely is having a flexible schedule. Some managers, however, often misread this flexibility to mean that employees have more time on their hands, so they assign projects and deadlines that grossly eat into employees’ personal time. Of course, work time and personal time for remote workers is separated by an extremely thin line, but you must make a deliberate effort to NOT close that line. Only assign tasks that can fit within a normal 9-5 workday and encourage remote workers to create break out areas at home for the purposes of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Pro tip: The kitchen is a great break out space because of its casual setting. Some minor kitchen remodeling work might be needed to transform an ordinary kitchen into a functional and comfortable break out room, but every dime spent will be worth it in the long run.
2. Engage effective collaborative tools
Brainstorming creative ideas in an on-premise setup is as easy as taking a stroll down the hallway to a colleague’s desk or a supervisor’s office. Communication and feedback is instant. Working in isolation limits such opportunities.
Bridge the remote-work communication gap by encouraging the use of video conferencing and real-time messaging apps. Such collaboration tools make communication within remote teams feel instant and natural. They will help you create an environment in which employees get the sense of togetherness.
3. Give clear and elaborate instructions
The success of remote teams is dependent on regular communication. It can be frustrating, demoralizing, and disengaging if a remote worker needs a simple clarification but can’t get it on time. To prevent such scenarios, it is important that you set clear goals and expectations right from the outset. Elaborate what needs to be done in detail so that employees know what to do when, how to reach you in case of an emergency, or who to turn to when they can’t reach you.
4. Get personal with your remote workers
People can feel isolated and disengaged if they are forced by circumstances to celebrate personal achievement such as birthdays and anniversaries alone. Don’t let that happen to your remote workers. Create a platform through which people can catch up on non-work issues, pay attention to personal milestones, mentor one another, and just have a good time. That will create a sense of community within your remote team.
5. Recognize outstanding remote workers
It is easy to notice and commend workers for their good work within a traditional office; when you rub shoulders with them every day. The same cannot be said about remote workers. It is important to remember that as much as you don’t see them toil and moil day-in-day-out to achieve your set goals, remote workers can be exceptional too. They deserve to be recognized just like in-house workers.
6. Pay regards to time zones and cultures
Building a happy and engaged remote workforce becomes extremely daunting when you have to deal with people from different time zones. Don’t make it harder by engaging employees at odd hours. Only arrange meetings when the timing is appropriate for everyone, even if it forces you to make personal sacrifices.
7. Hold virtual team building sessions
Team building sessions are essential for employee engagement, but they are extremely tedious and expensive to organize for remote workers. Thanks to technology, however, you can bring together employees who are scattered all over the world onto the same team-building event. For a start, find engagement tools that allow online games, or better still, create challenges on social media that are fun and straightforward enough for all your employees to participate.
8. Offer them learning opportunities
Employees with a growth mindset crave learning opportunities that can potentially propel them to higher levels in their career and/or personal life. However, remote workers are often forgotten whenever such opportunities arise. This should not be the case if you want your remote workers to feel engaged.
In this era where talents are hard to retain, keeping remote workers engaged will give them the much-needed job satisfaction that is crucial in having them work longer for you. Keeping remote workers engaged doesn’t have to be complicated. It is all about creating a sense of trust and belonging, and making everyone feel valued.
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