Ways to Boost Employee Engagement While Remote
Remote work has surged in recent years, with most employees preferring flexibility in their work schedule to harness stronger work-life balance. Working from home comes with it’s own challenges though, with many employers struggling to find ways to remain connected with their teams. We have generated a list of ways to encourage employee engagement while remote to stay intune with your team members and adjust to the rise in remote work.
Design a Plan
Leaders within an organization may find that tackling remote work the same way they take on operation strategies is the best course of action. Develop a plan that clearly outlines expectations for daily workflow, highlights meeting schedules, and lays out the number of hours that need to be worked in order to meet productivity goals. With clear expectations in place, remote employees have a better sense of what their daily schedule should entail. Be sure to have employees report on how the outlined expectations are affecting their work on a weekly basis to better fine-tune and improve overall engagement.
Supply the Right Tools
Make sure your team is well equipped with the right tools and workspace to get their work done as well. Establish a budget that will be dedicated to providing at-home workspaces and tech-based tools for remote employees. In cases where the budget can’t cover certain expenses, design a guide that pinpoints ways to improve a workspace on a budget – for example, tapping into a home’s equity for more expensive fixes, or making recommendations for places to buy affordable and supportive furniture. A workspace directly correlates to performance and engagement, so setting your remote team up with an ideal space can make all the difference. Provide detailed information regarding secure online resources employees will have access to as well. Appoint your IT department to train remote members in the necessary tools so they feel more comfortable with the technology provided.
Communication is Key
To encourage employee engagement, schedule routine meetings with your team. These can be short virtual calls scattered throughout the week to check in with how projects are going, establish goals, or to just catch up with one another. Working from home eliminates the social aspect of working in the office, so informal virtual check-ins are a great way to boost morale, keep your team motivated, and promote positivity. Utilize chat applications as well as a way to have real-time conversations and make group communication more timely than email.
Set aside time to have one-on-ones with your employees to gain a better understanding of how they are handling remote work. Use this time to workshop ideas to make their transition easier and establish an “open door” policy so they feel they can reach out any time. Take advantage of real-time chat applications as well to further prevent miscommunication and remain connected throughout the day if need be.
Reassess Health and Wellness Programs
Employee engagement is rooted in health and wellness, with many professionals feeling more connected to an organization that offers supportive wellness programs. With remote work on the rise, wellness has taken on a different form, so create a survey to gain a deeper perspective into employee demands. This will help to narrow down unoffered programs into which will be the most utilized and will also help to reassess your currently offered wellness benefits. Great examples of wellness programs include employee assistance programs, fitness membership reimbursement, or more specific offerings like smoking cessation programs.
Take their health into consideration, too. 22% of remote employees find it difficult to unplug at the end of the day. With their workspace being shared by their personal space, it can be difficult to establish that barrier between work and personal life. Consider addressing this issue by sending a routine reminder to your team to log off at a designated time each day. Knowing they have your support to step away from the desk can relieve some stress and give them that extra push to take some much needed time to relax and recharge.
Highlight Achievements & Recognition
Remote workers can sometimes become out of sight out of mind, making recognition and highlighting achievements on a more personal level important to boosting engagement. Take time out of a team meeting to give a personal shoutout or send out a company wide email with a quick note about the employee’s achievements. Or, consider just sending them a personal message to show that you appreciate and value their hard work. Go above and beyond and highlight milestones like birthdays, work anniversaries, and even personal achievements. This builds connection and creates an opportunity for other team members to jump in and get to know their distant colleagues. Recognition can go a long way, so be sure to make this a key aspect of your remote employee engagement plan.