Over the last decade, remote work has become more commonplace. There has been a steady increase in companies that hire remote workers.
But, virtual working comes with challenges when it comes to keeping workers interactive and engaged. Thus, businesses need to have an effective strategy.
Here are some creative ways to keep remote employees engaged.
Encourage video chats
It’s easy to fall back on email or phone when communicating with your employees. It’s important to remember that too much of this can make people feel more disconnected. Encourage your team to use video chat as much as possible, especially in meetings.
This will help everyone feel connected and less isolated. The casual check-ins will help them feel more comfortable speaking up. Provide the opportunity to talk about adjusting to their work environment.
Support professional development.
Encourage and support professional development for all employees. Include those who do remote work. Provide opportunities for learning, mentoring, and continuing education.
Include the support both within the organization and outside. This is to ensure that remote workers can continue to grow. It will help them to build their skills and experience with your company.
Carry out a periodic survey
Send out periodic surveys asking how things are going. You can also ask what your remote employees like about working for your company and what you can do better. Ask if there’s anything you can do for their well-being.
Look for anything else that can help improve their work experience. See how they feel about remote working and if their needs and expectations are being met.
This can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of this arrangement. You can make improvements as needed. You can then share results with your employees to know their voices are being heard.
Design an all-inclusive onboarding process
It’s hard to feel like part of the team when you’re not there. Create a way for new employees to learn about your company’s mission. They can think of values that aren’t about the day-to-day work.
Make videos to introduce them to the team and ensure they have access to leadership from day one. Whatever you do, please don’t overlook this step. It’s essential for getting your employees on board with your company culture from the outset.
Encourage virtual brainstorming sessions
Colleagues need to interact with each other at close intervals. This is whether in lectures or discussions. Many tools support this kind of collaboration.
For example, Google+ Hangouts allow colleagues to meet face-to-face on video chat. Help them share screens or documents in real-time. Or use Skype or any number of other tools that offer free group chats or meetings.
Send virtual gifts and have virtual celebrations
It can be challenging for remote employees to feel like part of their teams when not in the office. You can make them feel included by taking the time to celebrate their birthdays. You can also recruit virtual entertainment.
You can email a card or video and get other employees involved by recording video messages. If there is a holiday coming up that you celebrate in the office, you can send around a virtual gift basket, or baskets with goodies (like digital gift cards) for everyone to enjoy.
Use project management tools
If you have remote employees, your company should use project management tools. This is to keep everyone on task.
It’s easy to assume all your virtual team members use these tools as well as you do, but they may not. Spend time with your remote workers. Teach the employees the best practices for using whatever tool your company employs.
Set up a private collaboration space
Most companies have a private collaboration space. This is where they share ideas and information among team members.
Unfortunately, many remote employees don’t have access to this space. It makes it challenging to engage with their colleagues.
If possible, find a way to give your virtual team members access to take part in company discussions. And stay up-to-date on what’s going on at the office.
The Bottom Line
The more managers focus on building personal connections, the stronger your company culture. Strong company cultures lead to higher employee engagement. It also increases productivity, which results in better business outcomes across the board.
Companies should focus on the benefits of remote work instead of its disadvantages. Doing this will create a culture that helps overcome its challenges and keeps employees engaged.