Remote work may have numerous benefits, but people who are unaccustomed to it often report various issues. Of these, we have heard much, especially during the ongoing pandemic, when considering many people are left with no other choice.
It is often difficult for people accustomed to office work to remain engaged when working from home, especially if they have families and (gods forbid!) little children. Not only is it difficult to adjust to the new circumstances all at once, but it is also difficult to balance work and life obligations.
Luckily, there are a number of methods to keep remote employees engaged, many of which have been used by freelancers for years. Let’s consider the most efficient of them.
1. Encourage Communication
Have you heard of “Sunday night blues”? According to a number of studies, this state of mind – often associated with sadness, anxiety, and sometimes even guilt – is rather common among people around the globe. Noting that it happens only on Sundays, it is logical to conclude that it has something to do with the coming Monday – the first working day of the week.
Now, people who aren’t working remotely because they have chosen to – but rather because the situation has forced them to – would go to their offices on Monday. In this case, they’ll be staying at home, with the only difference being that Monday doesn’t differ much from any other day of the week.
It’s not difficult to imagine how this situation plays out. People get increasingly frustrated, do jobs merely for the sake of salary, and soon lose interest in anything deeper.
The important thing to remember here is – you’re not alone. All of your remote team members feel the same way you do, more or less, so it is crucial to keep communication alive.
The majority of virtual teams maintain regular communication via various apps, mainly consisting of email communication, instant messaging, video calls, and online conferencing. However, these are usually employed to encourage teamwork and productivity rather than overall engagement and well-being.
Our advice is – host casual online virtual meetings. There are ideas and ideas to choose from – from a Halloween party to Saturday night drinking parties to online fitness classes. Ask your employees for feedback; you may be surprised at their preferences!
Another additional benefit with this form of communication is that location doesn’t matter. Even remote teams scattered across different countries can meet and hang out online, hosting all kinds of events with even better results than their traditional counterparts. In fact, online parties are known to be rather popular and attract more people than traditional ones because even introverts will be willing to participate from their cozy homes, knowing that they can leave the party when it gets too demanding for them.
In a sense, online parties are more “politically correct” because everyone is more relaxed and doesn’t feel anxious because they don’t like crowds.
Finally, remote work is great for people who want to invest in their knowledge. Employees used to the online environment will also easily switch to online learning platforms. Given that the choice of courses is impressive indeed (and many of them are free, to boot), we’d recommend that people pick those they think will help them in their job.
2. Encourage Empathy and Wellness
On top of the above-mentioned, you should also make an effort to encourage empathy and wellness. Needless to say, people’s health should always come first. Presently, the options may be limited to online wellness classes and hangouts, but otherwise, you should encourage the (un)popular team building activities.
Any form of exercise will do; again, brief your employees to get some ideas. From yoga classes to carting to gym workout, exercising and hanging out are certain to boost people’s creativity and keep them healthy in the long run.
3. Listen to Employee Feedback
This is common knowledge, but surprisingly, not many managers actually adhere to the tip. Everyone knows that if employees aren’t satisfied, they will both slack off and leave the company when a better opportunity arises.
Successful businesses grow by investing in their workforce, encouraging creativity, productivity, engagement, and communication, and implementing employee feedback.
Don’t we all know how the startup culture works? People attending workshops and offering a plethora of ideas feel invigorated and inspired to participate in all kinds of projects and are willing to share in the company’s success and failures.
Finally, keep a tab on people’s important dates. Is it someone’s birthday tomorrow? Send them a virtual gift! Has someone overdone on a project? Prize them! Always make some time for whoever needs to talk with you; in this way, people will feel reassured that whatever may go wrong, there’s a way to solve it… and, most importantly, that they will be understood rather than judged.
4. Get Personal!
We mean it – literally. Managers should be professional, no doubt about it, but you should always keep in mind that your employees are people, not robots. People, no matter how professional or removed they may seem, still have their feelings and their worries.
Make an effort to understand them and connect with them on a more personal level. Recognize their strengths and weaknesses and delegate tasks accordingly. Make a note of the tasks they like. Create tasks that are suited to them. Praise them for their effort.
Engagement is so much more than just checking up on employees’ progress. It’s an effort to create an environment people will enjoy. In the long run, only satisfied employees can bring success to a company. You also won’t have to worry about their loyalties. When people are satisfied with their work and see every company’s success as their own, they won’t be looking for other job prospects.
Lastly, employees need to be compensated for their efforts. Even the most creative of environments won’t manage to keep them satisfied if they feel their efforts aren’t being recognized and compensated accordingly. Don’t be stingy with bonuses! If you’re worried about company finances, remember that it is the employees who ensure them. Reward them properly and make it clear that their efforts are appreciated.
As you can see, there are numerous ways to keep your remote team engaged. From parties to workouts to video calls, there is always room for improvement. However, keep in mind that people are different; what one person may find encouraging may well prove disastrous for another. That’s why it is essential to listen to employee feedback and keep tabs on people’s likes and dislikes.
By fostering a culture of understanding and encouragement, you will not only inspire your employees, but you’ll also build a perfect workplace for future colleagues to come. A welcoming and empathetic team is, after all, a welcome change in these hectic times.