It’s no surprise that working from home is on the rise, with many companies abandoning the traditional in-person workspace in favor of hybrid or fully remote work structures. And who can blame them? No commuting, more flexibility, and being able to work in sweatpants sounds amazing. But even with the many benefits, the rise of remote work comes with new challenges. A certain social connection between colleagues is lost when you can’t just turn your chair to talk to a colleague, share jokes at the water cooler, or try that new coffee shop for lunch. A lack of employee engagement in remote teams can negatively impact work culture and productivity and increase employee turnover.
How to define employee engagement?
Involving remote workers ensures that your team is still as efficient and productive as in the office, if not more so. However, it can be difficult to define and measure employee engagement in remote teams.
Telecommuting is a challenge for many, as distractions at home tend to include chores, housemates or roommates, social media, and television. The best way to measure employee engagement level is to ask employees about their work and passion level simply. You can also track their progress on tasks and confront any issues you may have with their performance.
It is clear that companies need modern solutions for this current work structure. Well, you have come to the right place. Here are six tips to increase employee engagement in remote teams!
To promote health and well-being
The health of your employees should be your priority. Ultimately, if your employees get sick, they won’t be able to perform at their highest level—or at all. So maybe you can create an incentive for your team to go out, cook a healthy meal, exercise, or create healthy habits. You can even start your own team wellness program (30 days of yoga, a month of daily walks, etc.).
Not only does this support the health of your employees, but it also brings them closer together and proves to them that you care about their overall well-being. Look for ways to make healthy habits easier to practice, such as allowing for a more extended midday break for exercise or allowing them to enjoy the sunshine early on a nice day.
Make sure employees feel heard and valued
Employee appreciation is a must – even from a distance. But, since you’re not in the office with them every day to say a quick thank-you note or take them out to lunch for their anniversary, you should find small ways to celebrate your employees as often as possible.
Is it someone’s birthday? Send them a virtual gift card. Did the employee go above and beyond the call of duty? Plan a team talk to recognize their efforts. Look for simple things to do to show your employees you care.
Also, make sure your (virtual) door is always open. Miscommunication is common among remote workers, and the last thing you want is for your employees to feel like they can’t talk to you, ask questions, or raise concerns. Make it clear that you are available for one-on-one meetings, and listen and take action if the employee trusts you.
Most remote teams organize a team retreat at least once a year to bring everyone together physically. Picking an exciting destination and meeting everyone to participate in team building and entrepreneurship workshops can completely change the dynamic of a business and reduce turnover!
Connecting, celebrating, and working together in a beautiful location was a rewarding and invaluable experience and strengthened our bond as a team.
A corporate retreat should be a top priority for all businesses, virtual or not. However, especially if it’s a remote business, it’s the perfect way to use the money you save from having a physical space and reinvest in your team.
Take a look at some ideas of company retreats designed for remote companies and see the amazing ways your company retreat can engage your remote team!
Virtual coffee breaks
Taking breaks to disconnect from work can be more difficult in a virtual environment. When you can connect face-to-face with your co-workers, it’s easier to step away from your desk, clear your mind, and get energized.
Colleagues can drink coffee, stand by the water cooler or try a new lunch place together. Unfortunately, this essential social interaction and mental health break might be badly missed in the virtual world.
Just like in-office coffee rituals do more than keep you caffeinated, VirtualCoffee helps you recreate that coffee culture irrespective of your geography.
Keep the lines of communication open
Remote workers, especially those who work regular business hours or are located outside the headquarters time zone, sometimes feel like their team isn’t around when they are, and vice versa.
While it’s impossible to expect everyone to be available 24/7, knowing they can reach out to their colleagues and stay connected through digital communication helps them feel more connected.
Host virtual meetings and casual hangouts
Many remote teams regularly communicate via video calls, instant messages, email, and web conferencing platforms. For example, a voice or video conference call can encourage group collaboration when the whole team is working. Additionally, you can use collaboration and communication applications like Trello, Slack, and Google Hangouts.
It’s also important to plan virtual meetings for non-work-related conversations. There’s always something stressful to discuss at work, but you don’t want every conversation to be tense and dreaded. Instead, make time for field trips or casual video calls to keep employees engaged and excited about team participation.
Foster personal connections
While you want to be professional with your team, remember that your employees are still human. Like everyone else, they have loved ones, happy occasions, and bad days. As an employer, you need to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and interests to better connect with them.
Remote workers feel more engaged and committed to the company and their role when they know you care about them as employees and people.
Even with something as simple as perks or bonuses, communicating with employees about their personal experiences in a personalized and relevant way will stand out to remote workers.
While the telecommuting movement has created new challenges for business owners and team leaders, it has also highlighted the importance of employee engagement in remote teams and how business owners can create channels to see their employees more motivated and engaged.