Whether remote working is part of your company culture or a necessity as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, ensuring that your team remains engaged and productive while working off-site is essential.
Let’s begin with some good news.
Just the very act of accommodating flexible work schedules, including allowing employees to work from home, boosts engagement.
According to Gallup, optimal engagement occurs among employees who spend 60-80% of their working time away from the office. This group of employees, who are in the office one to two days a week, strongly believes that their engagement needs related to development and relationships are being met. They are most likely of all employees to agree that someone at work cares for them as a person and encourages their development. This group also strongly believes they have a best friend at work and opportunities to learn and grow.
While remote work has its appeal, employees do cite obstacles. According to the State of Remote Work 2020 Report, the top three challenges that remote workers face are “collaboration and communication” (20%), “loneliness” (20%), and “not being able to unplug” (18%). “Distractions at home” and “staying motivated” also topped the list.
So how do you go about helping you employees overcome these obstacles and create an environment where they can thrive? We explore three ways.
Engaging Remote Workers
Build a sense of community
Remote workers struggle with the loss of communication and collaboration that comes from being separated from a team, two of the “Four C’s” necessary for engagement. Fortunately, advancements in technology make it easier for employees to share ideas, crowd source, seek help, and remain connected.
Holding regular, company-wide meetings with a structured agenda keeps everyone moving in the right direction. Video conferencing, where employees can see each other, is ideal for this and fosters necessary social connections.
Provide ample feedback and recognition
Don’t let out of sight mean out of mind. Show your employees that they are valued and contributing to the success of your organization by offering feedback and providing praise for a job well done. The same advice for showing employee appreciation in the office applies to remote workers. Be generous and sincere with praise, and make it public when possible. Utilizing employee engagement software with social feeds is ideal for this.
When it comes to evaluating the performance of remote workers It’s important to be able to focus the metrics on tasks accomplished and the quality of them versus hours spent working. Just because you can see your in-office employee sitting at their desk, it doesn’t mean they are more productive than their remote counterparts.
Invest in learning and development
Learning management systems (LMS) make training for all employees accessible and trackable. Remote workers often suffer from lack of on-the-job training. With LMS, employers can customize learning paths and content for different groups or teams. Employees can access the courses online, and at their own pace, without having to complete any in-person training.
Investing in the development of your employees, both remote and in the office demonstrates your commitment to them. That, in turn, creates a deeply engaged team.
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