Remote Employees: Here’s How to Keep Them Engaged

By Monica Zlotnik
February 20, 2019
5 min read

Engaging Remote Employees

By the year 2030, Regus predicts that 13% of all U.S. employment will be associated with flexible, remote work — which will contribute a whopping $4.2 trillion to the economy. And remote work isn’t just in the distant future: already, 63% of companies report having some remote workers.

In many ways, this is a great development. Studies have shown remote workers are just as (if not more) invested in their companies as in-office staff. Remote work allows people to stay in the workforce longer, balance their personal work lives, and even save massive amounts of energy.

However, considering that 57% of companies don’t have any remote work policies in place, it’s clear that the transition to remote work will take some planning. First and foremost, it’s pivotal to address one of the major challenges of remote work: keeping team members engaged. Let’s take a look at how your team members can flourish, excel, and strike up positive relationships — even while working from home.

1. Embrace Collaboration Tools

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that workplaces function best with “intermittent breaks in interaction.” In other words, an integration of collaboration and solitary work.

So when it comes to your remote workers, it’s vital to strike this important balance between allowing individuals to do their best work as individuals — then allowing them to come back together to collaborate. This way, everyone is able to come up with unique solutions while still reaping the incredible benefits of collaboration.

With your remote workers, make sure you have powerful collaboration tools available through a well-developed intranet. Employees should be able to share, edit, and brainstorm on important documents and campaigns. Collaboration software allows all of your employees — remote or otherwise — to contribute their best individual ideas to a project before coming together as a group.

2. Schedule Face to Face Meetings or Video Conferences

According to the Harvard Business Review, face-to-face requests are 34 times more effective than those sent by email. Though it’s certainly not possible to have constant face-to-face interaction with your remote workers, it’s important to make time in the team’s schedule for these important meetings.

Depending on logistical considerations, you could plan these meetings either in person on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly status. Or you could simply schedule video conference calls that engage your remote workers.

This face-to-face interaction gives you the chance to have discussions about goals, projects, and achievements. You’ll also help remote team members feel more engaged and present in the workplace.

3. Recognize & Reward Good Work

A major drawback of remote work is your employees missing out on all the positive interactions that occur daily in a happy workplace. Unfortunately, this lack of one-on-one recognition can make remote workers feel cut off or disengaged from their colleagues.

To prevent this from happening, try to incorporate some of the following ideas:

  • Host employee recognition events like Holiday Parties or BBQ’s that involve and celebrate each member of the team.
  • Keep online photo albums that commemorate special events, and make sure to include your remote staff.
  • Consider rewards or incentive programs such as using an online store to offer rewards to employees with stellar achievements.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of a periodic phone call to check in, congratulate, and motivate employees.

4. Keep All Employees in the Loop with Company News

Forbes recently covered the 2018 Global Trends Talent Survey, which highlighted some important developments in employee satisfaction. First of all, 51% of surveyed employees wish for more flexible scheduling at work. (This is clearly another indication of the rise of remote work.) Most importantly, employees indicated that they prioritize finding work with a purpose.

Employees want to work with a company that has a vision. Therefore, it’s important to communicate company goals and visions with staff. For example, you could engage remote team members with a regularly updated company blog that highlights the goals of the company. Another option is to organize a team or department site that keeps all your employees up to date.

Make sure your remote employees feel like they understand the company’s vision for success. This way, they’ll feel as if they’ve engaged with a conscientious and transparent company culture.

5. Handle the Logistics

Without good systems in place to handle day-to-day necessities, remote employees might lose track of deadlines, fall behind on assignments, and feel disorganized and out of touch. To keep your work-from-home employees engaged, make sure you have digital solutions for:

  • Forms & documents. When you work separately from the rest of the team, even simple forms like mileage reimbursement can get complicated. Make sure you have a solution in place for streamlining documents and forms.
  • Calendars & scheduling. Especially for remote workers, syncing important events in an easily-accessed calendar is pivotal for handling workflow.
  • Mobile solutions. For those employees who work remote and on-the-go, it’s pivotal to have a mobile solution that allows them to access information, collaborate, and connect from their mobile device.

6. Encourage Communication & Teamwork

More than anything, your remote employees need to be able to communicate quickly and effectively with the rest of the team. Though emails are a good way of conveying more complex information to one another, studies have shown that employees can easily waste four hours a day on email. Therefore, it’s important to find communication solutions that are easy, streamlined, and allow quick and efficient communication.

The solution? A live chat option checks all the boxes. It’s easy and user-friendly. In many situations, live chat facilitates access to a Directory allowing remote employees to quickly engage other people on the team. In addition to helping your remote workers find quick answers to questions, using live chat is a great way to boost employee camaraderie.

Additionally, employee messaging boards are another great way to improve communication between team members. Employees can ask questions and seek advice from their fellow employees about work-related topics. As an added benefit, it allows management to keep tabs on employee’s questions and concerns. This ultimately helps to create a more positive workplace for all!

Engaging Remote Employees with Great Internal Communication

There’s no question about it… remote work is on the rise. That’s why it’s key to encourage collaboration, streamline workflows, and engage employees. If you’re looking to substantially improve your internal communications, we at IC Thrive have a solution that works for your business.

Interested in learning more? We’re happy to discuss solutions — please contact us for more information.

By Monica Zlotnik