Remote work, work-from-home and work during travel are all popular workplace trends that help employees shape their work schedules to suit their needs.
As remote work technology becomes more accessible and affordable, all companies – from small businesses to large enterprises – are offering flexible work as an option.
Although off-site employees are equally or even more productive than those working in the office, ensuring that your remote team stays engaged and effective throughout their work week is a major challenge for most business leaders.
Want to learn how to better lead, communicate and connect with remote team members?
Here are 4 tips to enable better remote team engagement:
Tip #1 Employ the Best Tools for Communication
If communicating with on-site personnel is a challenge, remote communication— through video conferences, phone calls or other technology—makes it all the more pressing.
That’s why services and software that minimize confusion and prioritize clarity are essential to keeping your remote task force engaged at all times.
To avoid the hassle and expense of installing phone lines in the homes of your remote employees, utilize tools like Voice over IP, which relies on an internet connection to make calls with higher sound quality and reliability.
Similarly, productivity platforms help unify on- and off-site resources who are working on the same projects. From assigning tasks and integrating email inboxes to team reporting and tracking time, resources like Fleep and ClickUp will help your remote members stay informed of project updates and remain engaged for the day’s work.
Tip #2 Include Them in Team-building Exercises
Chances are, your remote coworkers will not have the opportunity to join in happy hour Fridays, company lunches or holiday office parties. Although these events don’t intentionally leave out mobile workers, this can exacerbate feelings of loneliness that remote workers already experience due to the nature of an isolated workspace.
Fortunately, there are plenty of “virtual events” for remote employees that you can add to your team-building calendar. Arrange a video conference call and room microphone for recreational meetings, such as a book club, to allow remote workers to share their thoughts.
To encourage some healthy competition within the company, try fundraising or donation contests, making sure each team has a mix of remote and in-office participants. Or, send coffee shop gift cards for coffee shops to your remote staff to mimic the quick stops for coffee that many in the office take advantage of.
Tip #3 Shout Out Their Accomplishments
Because remote workers aren’t physically present in the office, they may feel like their work goes unnoticed or unrecognized. This problem is partly attributed to the fact that team members who work in the office don’t have the opportunity to directly see the work that remote teams are contributing from afar.
One of the best ways to promote remote visibility, company dedication and team engagement is to publicly announce personal and team achievements.
As this article by Cutting Edge argues, timely and formal recognition for great work improves both personal and work relationships. It also fosters effective and honest communication, which is incredibly valuable for partnerships with remote help.
Your company will appreciate the financial benefits caused by increased productivity, innovation and loyalty—all valuable side effects of recognition.
So what are the best ways to go about publicly praising remote teams? Simple solutions include group chat forums, yearly conferences where remote members may be physically present or internal meetings via video conferencing.
Tip #4 Encourage Office Hours and Set Schedules
One of the greatest advantages—and disadvantages—to remote work is the flexibility employees have when choosing their work hours.
Flexible work arrangements make the balance between work and personal time more manageable, but it comes at a cost. You face a weaker connection within your team, missed communication and overall less engagement.
If your remote team is hard to reach and struggles to remain present during normal office hours, ask them to schedule out their week each Monday or dedicate few hours each day where they would be available for phone calls and question-asking.
Planning a schedule together is a great method for fostering teamwork without overstepping boundaries. In the same principle, you and the rest of your leadership team should share your available hours, when appropriate, to create a uniform policy across your team.
Over to You
Boosting remote team engagement can seem tough. In reality, it’s not that complicated.
Leaders can use technology, team-building activities, and uniform policies to better communicate and connect with their remote team members.
What are your thoughts on employee engagement and remote work? Share in the comments section below.