Tips for engaging remote-working employees

October 12th 2017 | Posted by phil scott

Tips for engaging remote-working employees

In today’s business world, remote working arrangements are commonplace offering benefits to both organisations and their employees, but are not without their challenges. Keeping remote-working employees engaged is critical to business success.

Effective and focused communication

Managers must understand the issues faced by remote-working employees to maximise productivity and must ensure other employees understand the value remote workers add to avoid resentment. Remote-working employees can prove detrimental to an organisation if they are not kept adequately informed. It is vital to maintain effective and focused communication so that employees understand and reflect the organisational culture even though they work offsite. Open lines of communication ensure remote workers are kept up-to-date with developments, changes and company values. This helps create an integrated workforce with employees working together to achieve business goals.

Recognition and rewards for remote workers

It’s easy for the accomplishments of remote workers to be overlooked, yet reinforcing their achievements is as important as recognising those of onsite workers. Managers must recognise the work carried out by remote workers in order for onsite staff to appreciate the valuable contribution of the remote workforce. When onsite employees become cynical about what the remote workers are up to all day and remote workers build up resentment about the routine recognition and confidence-boosting praise given to onsite staff, the result is a divided workforce. To boost morale and motivation, managers need to realise that just as they would contact a remote-working employee if a problem arose as a result of their work, similarly they should connect with them to reward a job well done.

The right approach to remote management

Talented managers realise best-practice management in an office environment isn’t always as effective when managing remote employees and so tailor their leadership skills accordingly. Clear objectives for remote-working employees provides much-needed structure ensuring they appreciate how their individual role fits in the organisation. Remote-working employees should receive the same level of supervision, direction, information and feedback as onsite employees. Sending an occasional e-mail outlining required tasks is not sufficient to keep employees engaged.  Although distance and time constraints may limit opportunities for managers and remote workers to get together face-to-face, it is important to arrange such meetings where possible. Video conferencing is a useful tool for remote meetings. Inviting remote workers into a decision-making feedback loop by communicating the rationale behind high-level decisions is also an effective way to engage them. Managers should then take on board employee feedback about those decisions and their effects.

Stay connected

Working remotely can be an isolating experience and it can be easy for offsite employees to feel disconnected from their onsite colleagues. It’s as important for management to build relationships with remote-working employees as it is to build a rapport with those workers they have regular face-to-face contact with. Social media is an effective tool for opening up conversations between employees wherever they are. Regular emails and conference calls prove valuable in terms of keeping everyone ‘in the loop’. Great managers go the extra mile to connect with their team and ensure team members are supported to stay connected with each other. Even if regular face-to-face meetings are problematic, contact should be maintained and remote workers should be invited to attend team-building and social events to ensure they truly feel part of the organisation.

Engaged employees are successful employees

If employees aren’t engaged organisations are putting themselves at risk of lower productivity, higher staff turnover and increased time spent fire-fighting. It can be difficult to maintain the focus of a dispersed workforce so time must be spent keeping every employee engaged. By following these tips to correctly manage and support remote-working employees, both organisation and employee benefit from the arrangement, ensuring business success.