Whether remote working is a perk your company already offers to its employees, or a sudden change in circumstance you’ve had to adapt to, keeping remote employees engaged should be the top priority for leaders today.
Engagement is crucial to a loyal, productive workforce, which is only more difficult to achieve without face-to-face interaction.
Here are our top tips for recognising your employees from afar and keeping them engaged.
Communication is key
Without human interaction, employees can easily feel isolated and less ‘belonging’ to a team. Overtime, this can lead to a lack of motivation and decreased productivity.
Schedule structured check-ins
Consistent communication is essential to keeping ‘normality’ in a remote working environment. Ensure that you have regular one-on-one meetings with your team members and set a clear agenda. This is where you can brainstorm and be creative, implement feedback and review sessions, or simply talk about how your employee is feeling.
Keep face-to-face interaction through technology
From harsh email tones to the lack of non verbal cues, remote communication can be challenging. Video conferencing is the best replacement for in person interaction, and showing your face should be encouraged.
Provide various communication channels
By providing several channels for your employees to communicate through, you are offering more opportunities for connection. Remote workers often find themselves stunted by the added effort required to obtain information from their coworkers. Consider introducing an instant messaging tool where employees can easily ask their colleague a quick question as they would if sat side-by-side. Instant messaging can be distracting, so be sure to set clear expectations for the usage of each communication channel that you implement.
Schedule time for informal communication
Don’t forget that remote employees will also miss the general chit chat that takes place in an office environment, or at Friday after work drinks. Arrange informal drop-ins via Google Meet or Skype, where your employees can take a break and chat about anything they feel like.
Recognising your remote employees
The key to establishing a successful work from home programme is ensuring that everyone knows that they're truly appreciated and their contributions are valued. This starts by making sure that you do all you can to recognise remote workers on an ongoing basis so they never feel like they're on the outside looking in.
Just like with communication, it’s crucial to be consistent with recognition. For remote workers, this means regularly acknowledging when they meet expectations, not necessarily only when they exceed them. A quick ‘thank you’ and ‘you did a great job on…’ goes a long way.
Virtual award ceremonies
To boost morale, introduce virtual awards sessions for remote teams. Employees can nominate their coworkers for the most productive, helpful or positive employee of the week award.
Create a hub for positivity
Build a space online where remote workers can post good news. Employees can share their personal shout outs to recognise and appreciate their peers.
Make it personal
In tough times, it pays to be personal. With every employee managing their own personal challenges such as health concerns, family stresses and financial security, be sure to recognise when they are pushing through to get the job done. These recognitions could be as small as a personalised message, or a delivery of flowers or cupcakes to make them feel acknowledged and appreciated.
By following these recommendations, remote workers who are either on the other end of town or on the other side of the world, will feel like they're the next desk over.