How to engage remote employees with 7 tools anyone can use
By: Mady Peterson
Remote work is a positive development in many ways — resulting in greater productivity and job satisfaction for employees, as well as reduced costs across many variables for employers. And it’s clear that flexible work options are a top priority for job seekers.
With a recent projection that 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022 — remote work is not only here to stay, but will continue to increase through 2023. But it can be a challenge to get digital workers on board with well-being to support remote employee engagement.
Without daily, in-person contact, how can managers and leaders keep remote teams engaged? Especially when interactions are limited to virtual meetings, video calls and emails. And with staggering statistics like three in five workers saying work-related stress caused them to have a lack of interest, motivation and energy at work — how can you make a culture of remote work actually work without losing collaboration and productivity?
Rest assured — it’s totally possible. The format or delivery of team management may change, but the substance of leadership can certainly remain. The following practices will help employers maintain trusting, productive relationships to help remote employee engagement not become an afterthought. Here are employee engagement ideas for remote workers to ensure your team members adopt a well-being state of mind.
How to engage remote employees
1. Be flexible and acknowledge that things are different
If a significant chunk of your workforce is working remotely, your remote employee engagement strategies have to reflect that. For example, if you require health screenings, don’t just offer them on-site — allow remote workers to be screened at their doctor, a local clinic or even at home. Or, if you provide on-site fitness classes or company social events, consider live-streaming them so off-site employees can participate as well.
It’s also important to acknowledge that things are different. Be open with your employees about your expectations, and be sure to offer flexibility to those whose family or personal situations require it. When employees feel understood instead of pressured, they’re more likely to succeed.
2. Show remote employees you care
When employees believe employers care about their health and well-being, they’re 38% more engaged, 18% more likely to go the extra mile for the organization and 28% more likely to recommend their organization. Limeade sends care packages directly to remote employees’ home offices.
Notice an employee has been feeling under-appreciated in their daily work? Send them a small gift card to a local coffee shop to get their day started, provide time off to recharge or even stress relief breaks throughout the day. A small token of appreciation will go a long way to show your remote employees you care.
3. Promote whole-person well-being
When focusing on remote employee engagement, be sure there are aspects of your employee well-being program that are accessible to all employees — and that activities cover everything from physical to financial well-being. We know that what happens in one part of your employees’ lives impacts all others.
Encourage your workforce to maintain work-life balance (i.e. signing off in the evenings when possible, maintaining reasonable work hours, etc.). Working from home can blur personal and professional boundaries, and you can help your employees maintain the needed space to disconnect and recharge.
4. Set them up with the right technology and resources
It might sound obvious, but employees will thrive with access to the right tools. Whether it’s providing online trainings or simply making sure your IT team is readily available, helping employees make their home office as advanced as company headquarters will help boost productivity. It’s crucial that all employees have access to important resources to successfully do their job and stay in the know on important company information.
On top of technology, to feel engaged, employees need to feel like they’re developing and growing. This means creating opportunities for movement (not just up), learning new skills, understanding career aspirations and providing feedback. Consider offering annual professional development funds for an employee to attend a conference, complete a certification or further their education.
5. Communicate to your entire workforce frequently
Communication is key. Are your internal communications geared only to onsite employees? If so, you’ll need to revamp all communication channels so they apply to everyone. Collaboration and productivity don’t just happen during work hours or in the office — provide all employees the ability to interact.
With public and work policies changing frequently, employees want to feel in-the-know. Even if there’s nothing new to communicate, you can reiterate, clarify and answer new questions.
Open communication creates a company culture of transparency that your employees will appreciate. This emphasis on communication goes both ways ― meaning you’ll need to stay up to date with remote employees daily wins and any roadblocks they might be facing. Consider using a mobile-first communications solution that is designed to connect you to your remote workforce quickly and easily.
6. Be a role model for remote employee engagement
Since most of your communication with remote workers won’t be face to face, positive and supportive communication is crucial. As a manager and leader, you can set the tone, attitude and mindset with which your team approaches new challenges and opportunities. In individual check-ins or in group meetings, find opportunities to call-out what is going well.
Do everything you can to leave your workforce feeling encouraged — and set the tone for well-being support. Get involved by connecting with coworkers and encourage social interaction across the company to keep all employees in the loop on new program challenges, weekend activities, team wins and even major life events.
7. Schedule regular check-ins
Encourage consistent 1:1’s between managers and their direct reports to keep lines of communication open. Choose a time that you can offer individual support to each of your direct reports. Perhaps it’s a daily call — or maybe a weekly video chat. Every employee is different, so find a cadence that works for both parties.
Engaging with remote employees is invaluable, as it allows dedicated time to gauge workload and address concerns. It also allows managers to offer support and demonstrate authentic care. As remote work rises, it’s up to managers and leaders to respond to employees’ needs with flexibility, care and the right solutions to set them up for success. Ask employees about their work-life balance, check in on their motivation and productivity levels, and discuss how you can best support their remote employee engagement at both a personal and professional level.
To see how Limeade can support employee engagement for your remote employees, book a demo today.
Additional resources for engaging a remote workforce: