Remote working is the new normal for business organizations across the globe. Although the transition from office culture to a remote workforce was a challenging one, organizations have successfully sailed through it. But one challenge which is now troubling most of them is employee engagement.
Although the task of engaging your remote workforce may seem daunting, these ideas will help you do it with a little ease. These ideas have been curated, keeping in mind the requirements for employee engagement along with the fact that your organization is currently operating remotely. So, all of the 7 ideas presented here are such that you can easily implement them virtually.
1. Be Consistent with Recognition
‘Recognition’ is a necessary ingredient for employee engagement. This is because it is a basic human requirement and employees have a strong desire to be recognized. In fact, 66% of employees say that they would quit their jobs if they feel unappreciated. In order to engage your workforce, you have to recognize your employees and make them feel valued. For this, you don’t have to be physically present with them, you can easily implement your recognition strategy virtually. You can recognize your employees over a voice call or a video call.
Further, the results of your recognition will be much better if you recognize your employees publicly via conference calls or video calls. This is because public recognition not only acts as a motivation booster for the employee who gets recognized, but it also ignites a desire in others to be recognized too. As a result, your whole workforce becomes motivated to perform better, which leads to enhanced employee engagement. So, you should start recognizing your remote workforce for the efforts they put in at work and be consistent with it. By maintaining the consistency of recognition, you keep your employees motivated to better their performance, which is the secret to keeping them engaged.
2. Express Your Empathy
This is a challenging time for everyone, for yourself and your employees, so make that known. ‘Empathy’ is a basic human need. It is defined as your ability to understand other people’s emotions, needs, and thoughts. It can also be termed as your ability to step into the shoes of others and feel what they are feeling inside. Your employees need you to be empathetic towards them. They need you to understand their struggles – emotional, mental, physical – and express your empathy towards them. When you don’t do so, the result is employee disengagement. This finding has been highlighted by Harvard Business Review. So, empathy is a basic need for employee engagement and the good news is that you can fulfill it virtually. Below are some tips to express your empathy towards your remote workforce.
Give them flexibility:
Working from home during the pandemic is a lot different from working from home during normal times. There is an enhanced need for household hygiene and most family members are staying at home because of the pandemic. All this makes it really challenging for your employees to stick to a fixed working schedule. So, give them some flexibility. To implement this, you can simply assign them the work targets every morning and let them complete them anytime during the day.
Ask them if they need any help:
This is a crucial step to take for expressing your empathy towards your employees. You should ask them if they need any help from your side such as technical assistance or guidance for successfully completing the assigned work targets.
Derive employee feedback:
To know about the problems and issues your employees may be facing while working remotely, you should ask for their feedback. You can easily create feedback forms on Google forms and derive feedback from your employees. You can put different questions in the feedback forms to know about the problems and issues your employees are facing and then take actionable steps to address them.
3. Help Your Remote Employees De-Stress
A survey conducted by a US-based anonymous professional network, Blind, reveals that as many as 53% of remote workforces at large companies like Google and Facebook say that working from home during the pandemic is impacting their mental health adversely. Remote workers are staying home more to get their work done and for personal safety. Isolation is taking a huge toll on employee’s mental health and making work from home a really stressful affair which impacts their productivity and engagement. Further, the same can be true for your employees too. So, to engage your remote employees you should work on helping them de-stress. Below are some steps you can take in this direction:
Have fun with them:
Having fun is an easy way to relieve stress. It makes us feel happy and reduces stress levels. So, have some fun with your employees! You can organize fun activities such as games, contests, or watch stand-up comedies together via video conferencing.
Create a “let’s vent it out” group:
When feeling stressed, it is simple yet best to vent your feelings out. The moment you do so you feel lighter and relaxed. Sometimes, only this much is enough to scatter the clouds of stress and make you bathe in the sunshine again. So, you can try creating a let’s vent it out chat group. In this group, you can add your employees and tell them to start a conversation with you and their friends whenever they suffer from feelings of anxiety and aloofness. This will help them vent their stress out and if they don’t feel comfortable sharing their feelings in the group, then try giving them the freedom to share their feelings with you directly.
Practice stress management techniques together:
There are many stress management techniques that are instrumental in relieving stress. You can practice these techniques together with your employees via video conferencing. Group meditation and mindfulness exercises are some examples of such stress management techniques.
4. Schedule Time for Some Friendly Interactions
Lack of proper communication is a major factor that leads remote workers to become disengaged. This is because it makes your employees feel emotionally disconnected from you and their colleagues. As a result, they don’t work with engrossment. In order to keep your remote workforce engaged, you should cover up the lack of proper communication and schedule time for some friendly interactions with your employees. You can conduct weekly virtual get together sessions via video conferencing. Here at Millennium we have daily morning status calls that quickly turn to friendly chit chat. It helps colleagues feel connected again.
5. Keep the Work Environment Relaxed
Micromanagement is like a curse for employee engagement. In an interview with NPR, executive coach Steve Motenko stated that micromanaging bosses are one of the biggest complaints he receives from employees. This is simply because micromanagement makes the employees feel frustrated and unhappy. As a result, they don’t get engrossed in work and stay disengaged. Moreover, micromanagement can be even more frustrating for the employees during the current times of the pandemic. So, to engage your remote employees, you should introspect and find out whether you are a micromanager or not. If not, that’s great! If yes, that’s great too as it is in this awareness that you can slowly give up on micromanagement and pave your way towards employee engagement.
6. Let Your Employees Have a Break from Work
As discussed above, working from home is really stressful for the employees during this global pandemic. So, they need some breaks from work to de-stress. In a survey conducted by The Hindu, 33.3% of the respondents complained that they were denied leave when they asked for it. This makes the employees feel frustrated and even more stressed, which hampers their engagement at work. In order to prevent this from happening, you should let your employees take some breaks from work. You should let them have one or two paid leaves every month without citing big reasons for them.
7. Assign Group Tasks
A survey of over 19,000 workers conducted by the ADP Research Institute found that teamwork plays a crucial role in employee engagement. Employees who feel like they are a part of a team are more likely to become engaged. This implies that you can engage your remote employees by assigning group tasks to them. You may be surprised to hear about teamwork as a virtual way to enhance employee engagement. You may think that it will be really difficult for your team to work together when its members are not working in the same place. But, smart collaborative tools have made it possible for remote teams to collaborate effectively. These tools are really easy to use and make working simpler for your team.
Whether your employees work in the office or from home, their engagement level determines their productivity. But, engaging your team, when you are not working in the same physical environment is a challenge, not impossible. You can engage your remote team virtually with the above-mentioned ideas.
About Millennium Agency
Millennium Agency is a national, award-winning, digital, creative, content/PR, and video marketing firm. With offices in Boston and New Hampshire, our team unites creative branding and data analytics to accelerate our clients’ growth, while combining our clients’ vision with our marketing expertise to increase sales opportunities and drive brand success. From video advertising and web design to social media and PR, Millennium can guide your marketing efforts every step of the way. Contact the professionals at Millennium Agency to learn more!