According to a survey conducted on Linkedin to gauge work preferences, almost 43% of the respondents prioritized the ability to work remotely over compensation and benefits, which garnered 31% of the total votes. Meanwhile, company culture and workplace diversity received 19% and 3% of the votes, respectively. In recent years, remote work has become increasingly popular, allowing employees to work from home or any location outside of a traditional office setting.
The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated the adoption of remote work, as companies had to adapt to new ways of doing business in order to keep employees safe.
While remote work offers many benefits, it can also present challenges for employee engagement. Fostering employee engagement in a remote workforce requires intentional effort and a different approach than traditional in-person work environments.
Employee engagement is employees’ emotional investment and commitment towards their work and the organisation they work for. In fact, according to research by Global Workplace Analytics, remote workers are 35% to 40% more productive than their fellow office workers. However, in a remote work environment, creating an engaged workforce can be more challenging as employees may feel disconnected and isolated from their colleagues and the organization.
Here are 6 tips to foster employee engagement in a remote workforce:
Tip #1 Communication is key
Effective communication is essential to fostering employee engagement in a remote workforce. Employers should use various communication tools such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and email to keep employees informed and connected.
Encouraging regular check-ins, weekly team meetings, and one-on-one meetings can help employees feel valued and connected to their colleagues and the organisation.
Apart from work, companies can consider organising company retreats. It will enhance the communication between employees who rarely have the chance to interact in person or who only discuss work-related matters with their colleagues.
The informal atmosphere of a company retreat can facilitate the development of a more friendly rapport among coworkers, which can result in numerous benefits.
This may include improving their capacity to collaboratively address problems and creating an environment where team members feel at ease bringing up any concerns without worrying about offending others.
Tip #2 Provide opportunities for professional development
Investing in employee development is crucial to fostering engagement in a remote workforce. Employers should provide opportunities for employees to learn new skills, attend webinars or training sessions, and participate in mentorship programs.
Offering these opportunities shows employees that their employer is invested in their growth and development, which can lead to increased motivation and engagement.
Providing learning opportunities for remote workers can also help to increase their sense of purpose and fulfillment in their role.
When employees feel that they are making progress in their careers and personal growth, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work.
Furthermore, employees who have access to learning and development opportunities tend to feel more loyal and committed to their employer.
Tip #3 Prioritize work-life balance
Remote work can blur the lines between work and personal life, leading to burnout and disengagement. One of the ways employers can encourage work-life balance is by setting clear expectations about work hours. This can include establishing specific start and end times for the workday, and encouraging employees to disconnect from work after these hours.
Additionally, employers should communicate with their remote employees about the expectations for response times to messages or emails outside of regular working hours. This can help to avoid overworking and burnout.
Encouraging breaks throughout the day is another effective way to promote work-life balance in a remote workforce. Employees who work remotely may feel the pressure to work continuously without taking necessary breaks. This can negatively impact their mental and physical health, leading to decreased engagement and productivity.
Employers should encourage their remote employees to take breaks throughout the day to stretch, walk, or engage in other activities that help them to relax and recharge.
Offering flexible work arrangements can also help employees to manage their personal responsibilities while still meeting their work responsibilities.
Employers can provide options such as flexible hours, compressed workweeks, or part-time schedules to accommodate the needs of their remote workforce. This can help to reduce stress and increase work-life balance, leading to more engaged and productive employees.
Tip #4 Recognize and reward achievements
Recognition and rewards are powerful motivators for employee engagement. Employers should recognize and reward employees for their achievements, whether through a public acknowledgement during a team meeting, a personalized email, or a gift card.
These gestures show employees that their hard work and dedication are appreciated, which can increase their motivation and engagement.
Tip #5 Build a strong company culture
A strong company culture is essential to creating a sense of belonging and community among remote employees. Employers should make an effort to build a strong company culture by promoting values such as teamwork, collaboration, and inclusivity.
Encouraging team-building activities, virtual happy hours, and social events can also help create a sense of community among remote employees.
In conclusion, fostering employee engagement in a remote workforce requires intentional effort and a different approach than traditional in-person work environments.
Effective communication, providing opportunities for professional development, prioritising work-life balance, recognising and rewarding achievements, building a strong company culture, and empowering employees are all strategies that can help foster engagement among remote employees.
By implementing these strategies, employers can create a motivated, engaged, and productive remote workforce.
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