How to Keep Your Remote Employees Engaged and Productive
Amid the COVID19 pandemic, your entire team is probably working remotely. It's no doubt an adjustment for you, your employees, and your organization. And for the foreseeable future, remote working is the new ‘normal’ which means the need to maintain communication and stay productive is at an all time high, especially for first time remote employees.
Here we list several tips to ensure that remote employees are engaged and productive.
1) Have a clearly defined vision
Whether you are remote or not, a company’s success depends on (i) having a solid vision for the future and (ii) employing an engaged team that is dedicated to making that vision a reality. If employees don’t understand the mission and their role in it, they won’t be able to execute it effectively. It’s up to the leaders to make sure everyone on their team is aware of the overall mission of the organization as well as their individual role in it. For remote teams, having members scattered around the world can inevitably lead to further misalignment. It is up to the leader to repeat the mission and ensure that everybody knows what they are doing and why they are doing their jobs.
2) Trust your employees
Don’t worry about what time of day your employees are working. At the end of the day, output matters more than input. Focus on results (not hours worked) from your employees.
"Without trust we don't truly collaborate; we merely coordinate or, at best, cooperate. It is trust that transforms a group of people into a team." - Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
3) Make sure that everyone knows they are part of the team
Approximately 20% of remote employees think that loneliness is the biggest struggle. It is the responsibility of the manager to keep their employees updated about the company’s goals and any changes that arise. Moreover, recognize employee's contributions and how they contribute to team and ultimately company success. A simple thank you goes a long way (for more details on why check out why employee recognition is so important here).
4) Establish a time and method for regular check-ins
Set up regular 1-on-1 feedback sessions with every member of your team. Feedback is one of the easiest (and most cost effective) ways to improve employee productivity and engagement. Keep in mind that feedback is a double edge sword - it has to be effective in order to motivate employees. For more details on why feedback is so important, check out our article here.
5) Get to know your remote employees as people
This can be difficult with distributed teams. Some items we recommend to keep your employees engaged are:
(i) set up a digital chat room where employees can chat about non-work related content
(ii) engage in social weekly hangouts
(iii) have annual in-person meet ups
6) Schedule regular face-to-face time
Whether it is a 1-on-1 call or weekly team meetings, face-to-face interactions allow for people on both sides of the screen to pick up on nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. In fact, research shows that the majority of communication is nonverbal. Face-to-face conversations also minimise the risk of miscommunication and help build trust and rapport between individuals.
“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said.” - Peter F. Drucker, American management consultant, educator, and author
What are your tips to increase engagement on remote teams?
For more suggestions on how to engage and manage your remote workforce, check out our guidebook.