Remote work has been on the rise for years and it Is set to continue to grow. As companies and employees settle into this new remote normal, many are realizing the advantages of virtual work. And it’s no surprise why.
Remote workers tend to be more productive, engaged, and happier. Plus, companies that offer remote and flexible work options are more attractive to top talent, helping businesses land and retain a competitive workforce.
But what exactly is remote working and how do you foster remote employee engagement and empowerment?
Read on to find out.
What is remote working?
Remote work is a working style that allows employees to work outside of a traditional office environment. It is based on the concept that work does not need to be done in a specific place to be executed successfully.
What are the benefits of remote working?
There are many benefits of remote working. These include:
- Remote workers save money. The cost of hiring office space can be expensive. Remote working removes this.
- No daily commute to the office. Commute times are getting longer for most employees. With remote work, hours spent sitting in traffic or crammed onto crowded trains or busses to get to an office are gone.
- Schedules are more flexible. Life can get hectic, and more and more companies are adopting the philosophy of, “if the work gets done well, we don’t care when or where you do it.”
- Improved work-life balance. When an employee works remotely, they often deal with fewer distractions, and this can help to increase productivity while keeping that all important work/life balance in check.
- Fewer distractions. When you work remotely, you control your office environment. That means you can build a space that promotes productivity and reduces distractions.
- You can avoid office politics. Office politics are a fact of life. But one advantage of working remotely is that you are constantly focused on good communication and positive interactions with co-workers.
- Reduces an employee’s carbon footprint and is better for the environment. Commuting into a job increases your carbon footprint. Not to mention the pollution that results from keeping office fridges and supply closets stocked.
Ok, how do I promote remote employee engagement and empowerment?
There are a number of things you can do to promote remote employee engagement and empowerment in your business. Here are a few suggestions:
Keep everybody connected through technology
Keeping remote employees connected through effective communication and strategic use of technology is vital with remote working.
Use tools like Zoom, Asana, GoToMeeting, and Slack to streamline communication and project management between team members so everyone is on the same page. Encourage your team to use the cloud for file sharing and to increase seamless work efforts between all team members.
While email and digital chats are great ways to keep in touch, face-to-face communication through conferencing can help your virtual team feel more present in the office environment.
Foster social interaction between employees
Despite the many benefits of remote work, the number one drawback employees complain about is loneliness. Keep your remote employees engaged by fostering team connections through social hours, video chats, and virtual team-building activities.
Assign mentors to new hires so new employees have someone they can rely on to ask questions and get oriented throughout their first few months.
Show employees you care as an employer
Build meaningful relationships with your remote employees and give them permission to create balance in their work/life schedule. Respect their time by setting healthy boundaries around schedules, assignments, and performance expectations. Make the time to chat with them about things like:
- Their family and personal hobbies
- Stress and mental or emotional health
- Their workload to help them avoid burnout
Listen to feedback
Ask for employee feedback and communicate with employees when you take action on their feedback so they know they have been heard and their opinion is valued. When employees feel valued, they are happier and more engaged at work.
It’s also important to give employees constructive feedback. Help employees take advantage of development opportunities and make sure they are providing the right levels of effort for the company.
Recognize employee contributions
Remote workers tend to put in more hours than their in-office counterparts, but they often don’t feel part of the team. One way to make them feel more involved is to make employee recognition a priority.
Look at using an online recognition platform to give every employee the ability to view, comment on, and give recognition in real-time. Employee recognition is a top driver for employee engagement.
Keep them in the loop
It’s important to keep your remote workers updated on projects, goals, team progress, and company news. Since a lot of information often gets circulated through chats across desks, remote employees can easily get left out of the loop and feel disconnected.
Use an employee-friendly system to give everyone access to company goals, progress updates, new projects, and more. Check-in regularly with your remote employees for both one-on-ones and team meetings so everyone has a chance to touch base and keep their finger on the pulse of the company.
Support your newest hires
Managers should provide additional training, communication, and resources to support new remote employees throughout their onboarding. This includes making sure employees have access to:
- Information like login credentials and document access
- Clear training on processes and technology
- Tools, equipment, and resources to do their job well
Give employees the tools to succeed
Ensuring your employees feel confident and empowered to do their best work is key to improving engagement and performance. And to do this you need to make sure your remote team has the tools and training to get the job done.
Resources and amenities aren’t limited to hardware or equipment needs like laptops or company cell phones. Think about how you can help them with their home office space and working environment.
Remote working is becoming increasingly popular for a reason. But getting the right balance for all staff whether they are in-house or work from home can be difficult.
Thank you for reading this guide. For more handy workplace information, check out the rest of our website.
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