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Top Ten Tips for Engaging Remote Workers

From our Organizational Development & Learning Solutions group

A key issue for businesses is how to maintain or increase remote employee engagement. After doing some research and based on our own experiences with clients, here are our Top Ten Tips for re-engaging remote workers:

  1. Encourage Work-Life Balance: Recent research indicates that fully remote employees actually work longer days. With no clear boundary between work and personal lives, it is easy for employees to get absorbed into working more hours. Strive to bring wellness to the forefront of your employees’ daily workday! Encourage them to take frequent breaks and set boundaries for how many hours they work.
  2. Extend Flexible Work Schedules: Employers need to realize that many fully remote workers do not need to work a typical 9 am – 5 pm day. Working from home also increases the probability that people’s personal lives intrude on work hours (i.e., chores; kids; etc.) Consider letting your employees know that they can set their own work schedules as long as they still work their required/scheduled hours. (Of course, this will depend on the type of work.)
  3. Set Clear Expectations: Setting clear performance expectations with employees is always critical. But when employees are working remotely, managers can no longer casually check in on progress or clarify success metrics. In a virtual work environment, it is now even more critical to set clear performance expectations upfront and frequently check in on progress.
  4. Prioritize More Frequent Communications: Working fully remotely can lead to employees feeling isolated and uninformed. Managers should consider increasing how often they communicate with their direct reports. This does NOT mean more emails! Using platforms like Zoom to visually communicate with employees is critical to re-engage remote workers.
  5. Recognize Good Work: This probably should go without saying. Plus, most managers realize how critical it is to recognize good work in order to maintain employee engagement. This is just harder to do but even more critical in a virtual work environment.
  6. Build in Opportunities for Collaboration: To combat remote workers’ isolation, managers should consider looking for and creating new opportunities for employees to collaborate on work projects. Pairing up employees on projects can not only improve outcomes but form new relationships and improve engagement levels.
  7. Ask for Feedback: We’ve said it before and will say it again: working remotely leads to a feeling of isolation. Asking employees for their feedback on recent organizational changes and ideas for improvements will remind them that they are part of a larger organization. And it will probably result in very valuable information!
  8. Use Technology: All of us who have had to work remotely during Covid has experienced living on technology platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. But, that is not what we’re talking about. Managers should use varied technology to connect with their direct reports. Using shared drives for file access, technology like Google Docs for real-time and collaborative feedback and other engagement tools (see our vendor spotlight section) will not only increase efficiencies but will improve employee engagement levels.
  9. Give Employees Tools to Succeed: For successful remote work, employees need more than just a laptop. Do your employees have a large screen to avoid eye fatigue and improve productivity. Do their computers have the latest versions of necessary software? Can they readily connect to centrally stored files/data? Do they have access to platforms that will help them communicate and connect with colleagues (i.e., Zoom, MS Teams, Slack, etc.) Being equipped with the right technology to work remotely is not only critical for productivity, but makes employees feel valued.
  10. Do Not Jump to Treat De-motivation as a Performance Issue: Working remotely and dealing with the ongoing pandemic has negatively impacted all our employees. As managers, we should be proactively looking for any signs of decreasing motivation from our employees long before it leads to any performance issues. In this changing world of work, we need to actively work to re-engage and re-energize our employees and build a positive (even if virtual) work culture.

Please share your experience so we can learn collectively how to better re-engage our remote workers:

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