As of 2019, 66% of companies allow remote work and 16% are entirely remote. In the coming years, the numbers are going to keep rising and for good reason. Remote workers provide businesses the independence of hiring talent without being limited to small geographical areas. Businesses are also able to lower their overhead costs.
The benefits of a remote workforce aren’t just limited to businesses. Surveys reveal that remote workers are happier compared to their in-office counterparts. Remote working helps to cut hours of frustrating commute time. It also promotes a better work-life balance.
However, a large percentage of remote workers tend to feel isolated and disconnected. This is of concern since the feeling of isolation can lead to lower engagement in the remote employees. Effective managers need to engage their employees and encourage team building whether they are local or working across the world.
Here are 6 easy to implement ways to make your remote workers feel involved and more engaged with the team.
Set Clear Goals
Remote workers just like other employees require clearly defined goals to thrive. Setting clear mutually decided upon expectations help motivate remote workers, promote productivity and helps them gauge their achievements accurately.
However, it is important not to micromanage. If your remote workers are not working with clients, they might decide to work non-traditional hours. As long as you are satisfied with their work output, you should encourage your remote employees to work when they are most productive.
Collaboration platforms such as Trello, Google Docs or Dropbox allow for your remote workers to work alongside their colleagues. These platforms also help organize your team, keep projects on track and avoid unnecessary delays.
Your employees don’t need to be working in isolation even if they are in different locations. Regular project check-ins and the above-mentioned collaboration platforms can help your team members work as a cohesive unit.
Establish Open Lines of Communication
Open and clear communication is important for any office setting but is especially important for remote workers. Since remote workers aren’t able to engage in casual conversation with their co-workers or jump into an impromptu meeting with senior leaders, it is important to regularly check-in with them and encourage other members to do the same.
Chat platforms such as Slack can help make communication easier and quicker and facilitate more conversations. Remote workers should also be included in team meetings. Tools such as Zoom can help leverage video conferencing to engage your remote workforce.
Effective Reward and Recognition
Regularly make an effort to recognize your employees and be sure to include the remote workers too. Provide your employees with a platform and the ability to appreciate their coworkers. Benefit One USA’s completely customizable platform promotes a peer-based recognition system.
You should also consider making the recognition process highly visible so that other members of your team are aware of the positive contributions made by your remote workers.
Give Frequent Feedback
As important as setting clear expectations is, it is also equally important to provide your remote workers with feedback. Schedule feedback sessions at least twice a year to go over how your employees are performing and meeting expectations. This is a great time to address any concerns they might have and discuss their career progression.
Schedule Face to Face time
While remote working is an efficient system for employers as well as employees, it is important to schedule face to face time. Try to schedule events a minimum of once a year if not more for your entire team to get together and connect with each other. This is essential for team building and a smooth working relationship between all members.
With the rise in the percentage of remote workers in the current economy, it is essential for companies to pay heed to the needs of their employees. The above steps will allow employees to feel heard, included, appreciated and will boost their engagement levels.