With the recent increase in remote work due to the pandemic, many companies are experiencing a wide range of positives and negatives when it comes to working from home. While there are plenty of positives such as increased productivity and flexibility, there can certainly be some challenges as well. One of the major challenges companies face with remote employees is maintaining employee engagement.
Employee engagement is largely fueled by a strong company culture where people feel a sense of purpose and are recognized for their contributions. When you're working from home, however, it can be difficult to connect with coworkers in a meaningful way. It can become even more difficult when trying to onboard new employees remotely for the first time. In this article, you will learn our top seven tips for increasing employee engagement while working remotely.
1. Communicate consistently.
When you're working remotely, consistent communication is critically important. Many teams choose to use workplace communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams to augment their communication strategy. Whether it's setting up daily stand up meetings with your department or weekly meetings with the whole team, these touchpoints will help keep everyone in the loop. This helps to improve employee engagement as everyone understands how they can best contribute to the highest priority tasks for the company at that time.
You can also build in some time for small talk at the beginning of each meeting, which helps to strengthen your workplace relationships. With stronger workplace relationships, employees are more likely to feel engaged and motivated.
2. Use good-quality, reliable tools.
However, it's important to select tools that are effective and reliable in order to enable employees to do their best work. Whenever you find a need for a new tool, do a rigorous evaluation process to make sure you select the right one. Stay away from solutions that have a bad reputation or are missing key features you require.
3. Focus on building human connections.
There's no doubt that having strong, authentic relationships at work is one of the primary indicators of high job satisfaction and engagement. When employees feel connected to one another, they are more likely to put in discretionary effort.
This tip is somewhat vague for a reason. There are endless ways to put an emphasis on building stronger, more authentic relationships at work. Whether it's making it a core value or being intentional about time spent together outside of work, you should do what makes sense for your company.
4. Take time to recognize accomplishments.
Throughout all the recent current events, employee engagement metrics have gone from historic highs to record lows. Gallup reports 54% of employees are not engaged while 14% are actively disengaged at work. Based on what we know about engagement and performance, this is not a good sign for things to come.
At the same time, we know the benefits of employee recognition when it comes to increasing employee engagement. Remote employees are especially susceptible to receiving a lack of recognition for their contributions and achievements. While many offices may have had ways of exchanging recognition in person, these processes were disrupted by the shift to working from home.
Digital solutions like Preciate allow you to give and receive recognition from wherever is most convenient for you. By giving and receiving fun, personalized recognitions, employees can build stronger relationships with their coworkers. In addition, features like Nominations allow you to replicate previously existing processes by having everyone nominate one another for special badges that correspond to different awards.
5. Spend time together (virtually)!
One of the major challenges for many remote teams is the lack of opportunities to socialize and the resulting loneliness. Proper socialization is practically impossible on meeting and conferencing tools because only one person can speak at a time. It's like trying to have a company happy hour in a conference room: it's technically possible, but it isn't very fun or uplifting.
When Preciate first became a remote company, it was clear there was no solution for virtual socializing for teams and businesses. That's why we built Preciate Social. With Preciate Social, you can navigate around the room and mingle like you would in real life. Create your virtual event by giving it a name, choosing a background, and selecting a music playlist. Then, everyone can listen to music together, give toasts, and enjoy each other's company. You can even give recognition while in the Social!
Spending quality time together is one of the best ways to build strong, more authentic relationships. Because growing stronger relationships is our purpose, Preciate Social is made to do just that. With stronger relationships at work, employees will feel more motivated and engaged.
6. Ask your team what they need.
This goes back to the consistent communication tip. Not only should you be communicating consistently with your team, but it is really important to ask people what they need. Especially when working from home, it can be difficult for many employees to let others know when they are struggling. It's often easier to hide behind the video camera and suffer in silence.
However, it's critical for employees to have what they need in order to maximize their engagement and performance. Take some time in your regular meetings to ask if there is anything they need or could use advice on. This opens up the door and helps employees be more open and honest with what's going on.
7. Set defined goals and expectations.
This is something that many companies have been doing since before the shift to remote work, but there are now new factors to consider. Setting defined goals and expectations help remote employees focus their time towards the most important tasks. In addition, it helps to maintain accountability when it comes to completing specific tasks within a given time frame. With remote work, this helps to maintain or even improve productivity over working in the office.
In order to set defined goals, some companies choose to use a particular framework such as the one laid out in Traction by Gino Wickman. Others may use project management timelines created with each new project start. Again, just do whatever makes the most sense for your organization.
As a remote company ourselves, these are the tips that have been crucial for our success. Working from home can be a blessing, but it's important to understand the potential pitfalls and find ways to avoid them.
As the future of work continues to morph and change with our increasingly complex world, we will continue to look for new ways to maximize employee engagement through the power of authentic connection.