Remote Work: How to Engage and Connect with Your Employees

Remote work is becoming common practice in many industries. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, more business owners than ever before allow their employees to work remotely to flatten the curve and protect the vulnerable. But what does this mean for corporates?

While working from home has its legit share of advantages, like saving money and time on commuting and supporting better work-life balance, it also has some downsides. Since they’re not in the office with their peers, remote desktop employees often feel less engaged and connect to their organization, which can hurt performance and productivity.

However, keeping those employees engaged is an imperative part of leading a remote team, employee, or company. Without the ability to have organic conversations at each other’s cubicles or in the break room, remote employees take a great deal of effort to engage with others. This lack of engagement, in turn, can lead to loneliness and isolation, a lack of motivation and passion for the business’s vision or goals, and feeling unappreciated and unhappy.

When company leaders and managers prioritize employee teamwork and engagement, no matter their location, the company as a whole thrives.

Encourage health and wellness 

Any business owner should make their workers’ health top priority. At the end of the day, when your team gets sick, they won’t be able to perform at their best capacity or at all. Maybe you can create an incentive for your employees to get outside, exercise, cook a decent meal, or create some kind of healthy habit. For instance, you can encourage your team to be more open about mental illness.

When someone in leadership opens about a personal experience with a mental health issue – it makes everyone more comfortable talking about it and more conscious of the issues. Even if someone in your team chooses to keep depression and anxiety to themselves, it can still help to know they are not all alone in this situation.

Also, providing remote employees with virtual yoga classes can also relieve a lot of tension and help them better engage with each other. Yoga, at its core, is a physical discipline that has gained tremendous popularity in modern times, especially now after lockdown.

Practising mindfulness and yoga at the same time can help remote workers increase flexibility, relieve tension, get in touch with the present, and many more.

Host virtual meetings and casual hangouts 

Many work-from-home employees maintain regular communication through video calls, email, instant messaging, and numerous web conferencing platforms. When everyone is working, a video or voice conferencing call can go a long way to support team collaboration.

Communication and collaboration tools like Slack, Google Hangouts, and Trello can help make this collaboration hassle-free, safer, and faster.

What’s also very important is how you plan out virtual get-togethers for non-essential chats. As we know, there will always be something stressful to discuss, as in any other organization, however, you don’t want every conversation to feel dreaded and tense. To avoid that, make time for every casual video call or work outings to keep everyone engaged and excited to be part of the team.

Keep the lines of communication open 

Remote employees, especially ones who work outside the headquarters’ time zone or at nontraditional hours, sometimes feel that their peers aren’t around when they are, and vice versa.

While it’s intolerable to expect everyone to be available 24/7, knowing that they can reach out to their team and stay in touch via digital communication allows remote employees to feel more connected.

Chat clients, online communities, and social collaboration software like a remote desktop can help bring remote workers inside the cultural conversation. And that’s very important considering everyone’s time zone when sending emails or setting meetings. For example, if you plan on sending a message at noon in your time to someone who’s already ready and done for the evening, realize that you don’t expect an answer until the next day of work.

Ask for feedback

Studies have shown that 86% of employees felt senior management listened to them in a robust cultural setting, compared to 70% without a great company culture.

That’s why you must be only ears to your employee and make sure that their voices are heard no matter what. Don’t hesitate to ask them for their honest opinions on everything and anything, such as reaching company goals, improving customer satisfaction, and more. However, that doesn’t mean you just have to listen to their ideas and beliefs – you have to act in the good ones too.

Gamify your teamwork 

The application of game-playing elements to nongame environments has quickly become a popular tactic for businesses to improve customer loyalty and engagement in an exciting new way. The same strategy goes for encouraging rewards, and competition for everyday activities can be an efficient team engagement strategy, and the reasons speak for themselves.

Workers need to feel included, and it’s humanly to want to be a part of a team. For this reason, competitions, as well as team-based goals, can help build a sense of cooperation, and competitions for everyday activities can be an effective employee engagement tactic.

Besides, that, as well as a competitive and collaborative environment, regular checking and daily greetings over shared communication platforms can also be an effective way to acknowledge your remote employees. However, some of the biggest impacts come from celebrating achievement and contributions with specific feedback and recognition when it comes to that.

As a business owner, acknowledging personal milestones, work anniversaries, and birthdays, even a simple, thoughtful note or signed card can work wonders for your company culture and the emotional health of your employees.

When you’re seeking a new way to engage work-from-employees and keep them engaged, think of it as an endless task to develop and nurture.

Engagement, especially in the corporate world, it’s not a one size fits all approach or something you can deal with once a year. Keeping remote workers engaged turns them into your finest and biggest asset.

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