Working from home has become a convenient option for a lot of businesses amid the pandemic. It allows businesses to continue operation despite the mandatory establishment closures due to COVID-19. Not to mention, it helped flatten the curve and protect employees from the deadly virus.
Though remote work has its fair share of benefits, such as fostering work-life balance and saving time and money on daily commutes, it also has its glaring disadvantages.
Even before the pandemic, several studies have already shown that more than 60 percent of employees feel isolated working from home. This number is only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since employees do not enjoy the organic conversations they usually get to enjoy in an office environment, remote workers feel like they are less engaged and connected with the company. Experiencing these feelings only leads to a decline in productivity and performance of employees.
Considering all of these, companies must emphasize employee engagement and teamwork.
What Is Employee Engagement
Essentially, employee engagement refers to the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals.
An engaged employee actually cares about the company and his/ her job. It is more than just the paycheck or the next promotion that keeps them going, but their actual concern for the organization’s welfare.
Keeping employees engaged has been a challenge for a lot of organizations. Especially with the pandemic going on and employees working remotely, employers need to be more creative in promoting this.
How to Keep Your Remote Workers Engaged
Though challenging, there are plenty of ways however for companies to keep their remote workers engaged. These are some:
#1 Encourage Health & Wellness
The Health and wellness of your employees should be a priority, particularly during these times. When your employees get sick, it is the company that will ultimately suffer — your employees cannot perform at their best.
What you can do, though, is provide some healthy incentives to your workers to remind them to take care of their health.
It could be as simple as starting a wellness program for the team. Encourage your employees to enjoy their rest days. You could even send them some candle fragrance oils to keep them relaxed while working on their work desks at home.
Doing all of these not only promotes the health and wellness of your employees but also shows them that your company truly cares for their overall well-being.
#2 Conduct Virtual Meetings & Casual Hangouts
Many remote teams establish regular communication through instant messaging, video calls, email, and web conferencing platforms. A simple video or voice conference can go a long way in fostering collaboration among your team. Collaboration and communication tools such as Slack, Trello, and Google Hangouts are also helpful in keeping everyone posted.
But apart from having virtual meetings for work-related matters, schedule a regular virtual get-together for non-work-related stuff. Talking about work all the time is stressful. Everyone also needs a breather.
#3 Make Employees Feel Heard & Valued
Especially now that you rarely see your employees in person, they deserve to feel heard and valued. Learn to find small ways to celebrate success with your employees, even from a distance.
For example, you may send virtual gift cards to any employee who is celebrating a birthday. If someone from the team went over and beyond their assignment, why not give them some incentives and recognize their effort through a team call?
Miscommunication is too common among remote workers. Make sure you stay open with your employees when they want to talk to you, raise concerns, and ask questions. Make it clear that your virtual door is always open for them.
#4 Promote Personal Connections
Remember, your employees are still human. Though a level of professionalism should always be maintained within the team, it is always important to connect with them. Engagement is not just about “checking in” but developing a personal connection with your employees.
Learn to recognize the strengths, weaknesses, and interests of your employees to better connect with them. Rather than keep tabs on what they do, figure out what they are truly passionate about. When you do, you can assign them tasks in line with their interests.
When remote workers feel that you value them not just as employees but as people, they are more likely to feel engaged and committed to the company.
Most importantly, companies could strengthen employee engagement if they remain transparent and honest in or out of the office. Building a strong relationship with remote employees, honest, personal, short but direct communication is the key.