How to Engage Remote Employees with Your Company Culture

Remote work has certainly gone mainstream and will likely become even more popular over time. As workers and employers both embrace remote work as the new normal, they are truly seeing the benefits of this arrangement.

Remote workers tend to be happier, better engaged, and more productive. Additionally, hiring teams can use the availability of remote work as part of their employer marketing efforts. This approach helps them to attract and retain a better workforce.

However, this doesn’t mean there are no challenges to overcome. Most employers are still new at remote work, and so are most employees. It’s natural to be concerned about keeping your staff happy and engaged when they are no longer a regular presence at the office. 

Why Is Remote Worker Engagement Important?

Remote worker engagement is important because it helps you retain good employees and creates a culture that fosters ownership and innovation

The good news is that remote workers feel more positively engaged at work than their in-office counterparts. The bad news is that in spite of this, very few have any intention of staying at their employer long-term.

Strategies for increasing engagement with remote workers include:

1. Encourage Meaningful Social Interaction

This approach is a strategy that borders on controversial. Some remote workers find the idea of happy hours, trivia nights, virtual game nights, and other team-building activities to be absolutely dreadful. In fact, avoiding those things is one of their primary reasons for embracing remote work.

At the same time, many remote workers cite loneliness and isolation as real problems for them. They enjoy the benefits of remote work, but miss the connection of an office environment.

The best solution is to hold events that allow employees to interact with one another in social situations but take off any pressure to attend. Many workers will be happy to take part. Others will be grateful to have an invitation to reject.

2. Make an Effort to Gather Feedback from Remote Workers

It’s not always easy for remote workers to share their thoughts on workplace culture and how happy they are with their current position. You need to be proactive and collect information through employee surveys to ensure that you truly understand remote worker sentiment. This tactic will give you great insights into how the workers feel.

Remember to give feedback as well. Remote workers need your guidance and access to opportunities to improve their performance.

3. Share News and Knowledge

In an organization, information is power. Keep remote workers in the loop when it comes to team and company news, project updates, progress towards goals, etc. 

Remember that there is a lot of key information that is communicated through casual, breakroom, and watercooler interactions. Because remote workers can’t take part in these conversations, they may feel disconnected.

Consider using an online platform for goal setting, project management, and communication. A platform like Slack has great integration potential. This approach will help all workers stay connected and feel as though they are part of the communication loop.

4. Give Workers the Resources They Need

Are you providing your remote workers with the same resources you offer in-office employees? That starts with ensuring they have the technology they need, such as company-issued laptops, but there’s more to it than that.

What about training classes and seminars? Are you offering the same opportunities online as you are in person? Do your remote workers have access to a workspace where they can be productive?

The truth is that you are likely saving money on the cost of office space by having workers go remote. Consider reinvesting some of that money reimbursing workers for coworking spaces or home internet upgrades.

5. Offer Hybrid Options

There’s a lot of focus on the benefits of remote work, and rightfully so. However, the most engaged employees tend to be those who work from home and in the office. This hybrid option allows people to enjoy the flexibility of remote work and maintain in-person connections.

6. Maximize Your use of Technology

Technology won’t solve every problem remote workers face, but it can certainly take away some frustrations. Use technology to communicate, share files, and keep everyone on the same page. 

For live meetings, select video conferencing technology that allows remote workers to participate. If that software has features such as file sharing, break-out rooms, and private messaging, that’s even better.

7. Respect Boundaries

Remote workers often make the mistake of blurring the line between work and home life. They are less likely to take breaks, more likely to sign on and work in the evening, and tend to feel guiltier about taking time off.

Unfortunately, managers can unintentionally add to this. Make sure that you are respectful of their time off and need for flexibility.

8. Provide Meaningful Recognition

Remote workers often work longer hours but often feel as though their contributions aren’t appreciated. Make a dedicated effort to provide them with the recognition they deserve. You can address this by using Employee Celebrations to acknowledge their job successes and life events.

9. Onboard Remote Employee Hires

When your existing employees go remote, they have the advantage of understanding your current processes and procedures. What about new remote hires? Are you bringing them into the organization with the tools they need to succeed? Consider building a remote onboarding program to help them get off to a great start.

10. Be Flexible

People want to work remotely because it gives them flexibility and autonomy. If you constantly interfere and make demands that they follow a strict schedule, you’ll lose their engagement. The same is true with micromanaging.

Instead, give remote workers as much control over their schedules as possible. Focus on deliverables, not how or when they do the work, and deal with any failures as they come. In the end, workers will create work patterns that allow them to be the most productive.

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