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Do you allow remote employment? Here’s how to keep employees engaged

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Remote workers can feel distant and may feel as if they are not part of the team, and lose motivation. How do you keep employees engaged?

The internet and technologies making use of the internet, for example the cloud, have made remote working more practical than ever before. Thanks to various tools, it is easier to communicate, monitor, and incorporate remote workers within activities.  However, maybe the key to keeping remote workers engaged is communication – regular contact, and human contact too, not just by email which can feel impersonal. An email can be quite a cold way to communicate, and create an impression that would not be created in a telephone call, when a laugh, for example can lighten the mood. Face-to-face meetings are better still.

Get to know your remote workers

Ensure you get to know remote workers, don’t restrict conversations just about work, get to know their priorities, get to know them as individuals, ask about them, and not just “how are you?”

Contact

Create communication channels. Agree regular times for telephone contact, better still, via skype or some other form of video based communication, such as appear.in.

But also, if at all possible, schedule in times for face to face meetings. Even if these meetings occur infrequently, the fact that there is a date in the diary can help support engagement.  Just saying that we will meet is not enough, there needs to be specific arrangements. If possible, visit remote workers occasionally.

Likewise, set up protocols for how remote workers can contact each other and supervisors. As part of this, make use of real-time communication tools such as Google for Work, Skype for Business and Slack.

Finally, make use of technologies such as messaging, company intranet boards and chat rooms to interact.

Part of the team

Ensure remote workers feel part of the team by involving them in meetings, via remote communication, such as Google Hangouts. Involve them in brainstorming sessions. Set team based goals. In this way remote workers can feel more integrated within the team.

Make use of technology to support team interaction including social media.

Building on this, arrange meet-ups with the rest of the team. If it is not practical to have regular meet-ups, at least arrange dates well in advance for when meetings will occur. As part of this, make sure remote workers are involved in away days, and invite remote workers to local events.

Also, include fun activities as part of cementing team cohesion when members of the team are remote workers.  These fun activities could involve meeting up, but could be done remotely such as in virtual reality.

Tracking performance and incentivising

Clearly set expectations and ways to monitor performance. Shift emphasis away from tracking time to tracking delivery.

Agree times for evaluating performance, and guarantee that successes, and indeed hard work, are acknowledged.

Professional development

Take the development of remote workers seriously, provide training, and support.

Above all

But it boils down to the three Cs. Communicate, communicate and communicate.

 

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Tags: Business, Workforce Transformation