As a result of offering businesses increased convenience and efficiency, remote work has grown exponentially in popularity throughout the past several years. Today, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more organizations are making the switch to remote work and virtual teams than ever before to flatten the curve. And remote work provides both businesses and employees with a whole host of benefits. For example, a study conducted by Global Workplace Analytics determined that, on average, a typical enterprise could save $11,000 per person per year due to remote work policies. Working from home allows employees to save time and money on their daily commutes and promotes an enhanced work-life balance.
Nevertheless, whether your team has transitioned to remote work in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic or is simply geographically dispersed, keeping employees engaged while working from home can be quite challenging. As a result, the performance and productivity of remote employees may suffer.
Successful managers and executives, like Anthony Lapadula, Managing Director of Aegis Capital Corp., prioritize and encourage employee engagement by leveraging the following five tactics.
Virtual Meetings and Non-Work-Related Gatherings
Email, instant messaging, video calls, and web conferencing platforms are effective methods for remote employees to maintain regular communication. Specifically, voice and video conference calls are incredible tools for encouraging group collaboration and connection, allowing team members to see each other’s faces and hear each other’s voices. Frequent virtual meetings can also serve to keep teams aligned with the company vision and strengthen company culture.
Moreover, company leaders should never underestimate the effect that non-work-related gatherings have on employee engagement and teamwork. It is easy for remote employees to develop feelings of isolation quickly. Casual virtual get-togethers allow for socialization and human interaction, creating a space for employees to engage with each other as they would in a regular office environment.
Provide Open Lines of Communication
It is common for remote employees to have nontraditional work hours, sometimes in varying timezones. As a result, these employees may feel disjointed from each other and leadership. Although everyone undoubtedly cannot be available at all hours of the day, open lines of communication bolstered by digital platforms can enhance workers’ feelings of connection. Furthermore, when employees feel that their work schedules and time zones are respected and acknowledged, it becomes easier to create a sense of camaraderie.
Encourage and Foster Trust
Managers must be given room to take chances and be creative. Additionally, it is imperative to trust employees to complete their assigned tasks effectively. Providing feedback to assist in problem-solving can encourage employees to feel more productive, engaged, and motivated. Coupled with frequent face-to-face video calls in place of email, regular feedback will allow leadership to build trust with remote employees.
Introduce Team-Building Activities
Remote employees tend to have weaker relationships with one another as opposed to in-house teams. Team-building activities can be effective means of fostering healthy work relationships for those working from home. With improved retention rates, enhanced productivity, and high employee satisfaction and happiness that often result from team-building games and activities, feelings of trust and connection are often fostered to help ensure that every employee feels included regardless of their geographic location.
Ensure that Remote Employees Feel Heard and Valued
A paycheck is far from the only way that company leadership can show their employees gratitude and respect. Positive feedback and shout-outs will show employees that they are being heard, and their work and input are valued. In turn, remote employees will become more engaged and motivated to continue producing high-quality work.