Has your company transitioned to a remote workplace? There are perks to working from home, but keeping your employees engaged can be a challenge.
Your team will benefit from flexible work hours and an end to long travel commutes. But working remotely can come with distractions and feelings of isolation.
Even after the impact of COVID-19 starts to ease and life goes back to normal, many companies will still offer employees opportunities for remote or hybrid work.
So, how can you get it right? How can you keep your team motivated and productive?
To help you build a successful remote workforce, we’ve put together a list of useful tips. Read on for 10 innovative ways you can improve engagement within remote teams:
1. Streamline your business processes
The first thing you should do is make sure everything is in one place. Your processes should be clear and organized so that every team member is on the same page.
For example, if you’re working with a remote sales team, you should have a clear sales development process. This should be a step-by-step guide that your remote workforce can follow. It can start with sales lead generation and end with monitoring and performance.
Other processes you can streamline include onboarding, customer management, and employee training.
When your processes are clear, your customers will get the same service regardless of who is assisting them. Everyone in the workplace will know what to expect and what their roles and responsibilities are.
2. Give your employees a challenge
Some healthy competition can help to motivate and engage your remote workforce. You can set key performance indicators (KPIs) and have weekly prizes for top-performing staff. Use a virtual leaderboard to show their progress, giving them an incentive to work hard.
For example, your KPIs could be profit-based, such as how many sales they have made during the period.
Or you can have service-based KPIs based on customer satisfaction. Measure this by asking customers to complete a survey to rate the service they received.
When you have a “remote employee of the month,” you can celebrate your employees and keep them engaged.
3. Enroll your team in training
Your teams can collaborate on projects and continuous training. Education can give your team new skills and reignite their enthusiasm.
When you put your employees in pairs or groups, it will help to boost engagement. They’ll have a buddy to bounce ideas off, and they can keep each other accountable.
Learning from home can be difficult without the support of other students so that collaborative learning can be beneficial. If you want to have your employees learn more about the inner workings of your business, you can use online course software to build exactly what you need. If not, you can find a course marketplace to help.
Whether it’s improving technical skills, learning Chinese for business expansions in Shanghai, or mentoring and coaching, continuous learning can keep your remote employees engaged and active.
4. Give your employees benefits
Giving your employees benefits will make them feel valued and increase their motivation for work. We’re not just talking about health benefits here (though you should give them those as well). Small gestures and acknowledgments can go a long way.
Employee recognition is important and giving your most valuable team members small gifts of appreciation can help keep them motivated and engaged.
Some gift ideas include trophies, bonuses, gift cards, or even coupons and discounts. You can be savvy with your shopping by visiting Swagbucks or other discount coupon sites.
If they have a family, working from home can be particularly stressful. They will have additional commitments and pressures as they try to create a work-life balance.
Why not give them incentives their whole family can benefit from? For example, you may be thinking about practical gifts for children. Financial contributions to a college savings plan could be appreciated.
5. Send your team branded loot
Make them feel like part of the company with a gift of branded loot. A goodie box in the mail will put a smile on their face, and branded merchandise will make them feel included.
If you are hiring new remote workers, you can make a good first impression. Welcome packages are ideal for new employees and can include a pen, mug, mousepad, diary, and stickers.
Why not use a custom t-shirt printing service to create branded shirts for your entire team? Having a uniform to wear while working remotely can help them create a home routine.
It’ll give them something to put on each morning and make them feel like they are at “work,” even if they don’t leave their bedroom.
The rule is to make sure it’s comfortable, as one of the perks of working from home is relaxed clothing.
6. Use clever software tools
When you have a remote team, you’ll need to rely heavily on technology to keep everyone in sync.
There are a range of different platforms available. You can use video conference calling apps, such as Zoom or Skype, for virtual face-to-face meetings. If you already use Zoom, you can also use one of the many Zoom Integrations to connect all of your tools and take your meetings to the next level.
Project management tools are for task allocation. You can view each employee’s workload and track their progress. Then there are shareable word processing apps, such as GoogleDocs.
You can use a tool like MozartData to store all of your data in one place.
With the right tools and software, your team will be able to collaborate and communicate more efficiently.
We recommend using cloud-based solutions, as they can receive real-time updates. They’re accessible on all devices and, if it’s a reputable company, they will add any security patches immediately.
7. Ask for feedback and suggestions
It’ll be easier to engage your remote work team when you understand what is working and what’s not. You can ask your employees for feedback and suggestions to help you improve the virtual work environment.
One way to do this is by creating an engagement survey. If your team is nervous about being honest, consider conducting an anonymous survey.
You can use a scale from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree to gauge their levels of satisfaction.
Examples of what an engagement survey might include:
- “I’m satisfied working for this company”
- “I have all of the tools I need to perform my job successfully”
- “I receive recognition when I do my job well”
- “I feel supported by management”
- “I feel productive while working remotely”
You can finish the survey with a section dedicated to remote working and any suggestions for improvement. For example, if you discover that your remote team struggles with tech and development, you might want to consider onboarding IT staff to help bridge the gap.
Not only will the results of the survey give you insight into your company’s performance, but your team will know their opinion matters.
8. Have fun with casual Fridays
You can break up the monotony of the workweek by having Casual Fridays with a twist. Invite your team to dress in a specific and fun way for virtual team morning meetings.
To make it fun, why not give them a dress-up challenge? You could have a funny hat day, a wild hair day, a team sports day, or a movie dress-up day.
Your themes should be easy to accomplish, as this will promote inclusion. Employees could make use of hats or costumes they may have around the house. It’s possible that you won’t all be together in the same building, but that doesn’t mean the day’s structure can’t be interesting.
9. Host virtual events
You can boost employee engagement by hosting virtual events. Use live-streaming software or one of the many virtual meeting platforms that will allow them to comment, ask questions, and participate.
The type of events you host will depend on the results you want. For example, you may want to invite a guest speaker to motivate your team. It could be someone successful from within the company, or a local celebrity, such as a sporting hero, musician, or doctor.
You could host birthday parties for your valued team members to boost morale or a midday concert to give everyone a break from the daily grind. You can easily spread the word by creating an event flyer and sharing it with your team members.
Short training sessions, coffee hangouts, and games are all virtual event ideas. When employees are feeling isolated, virtual events can help them reconnect with teammates.
10. Be flexible and understanding
Your team may become disengaged if they are having trouble balancing their home and work-life commitments. One way you can support them is with flexible working hours.
Check in regularly to see how your employees are coping and whether they need an altered schedule.
They may need to work at night or start early and finish early to pick up their children from school. While changing your roster may not always be possible, your team will appreciate you making an effort.
Working for a company that’s supportive, innovative, and flexible is appreciated by most employees. Hardworking individuals who can work when it suits them will reward you with higher rates of engagement and more productive work hours. It will also increase the level of employee retention.
Improving engagement within remote teams
It’s not uncommon for workers to become disengaged when working remotely. They’re faced with distractions and don’t have the regular interactions you’d find in the workplace.
There are creative ways you can keep your team engaged when working from home.
You can streamline your business processes with clear guidelines that everyone can follow. Mix things up by giving your employees challenges and KPIs.
Keep them motivated by giving them training opportunities that benefit both them and the company. For example, they can learn a new language to open up international trade opportunities.
You can provide added benefits and branded company loot to make them feel appreciated. Use software tools to keep everything in one place and ask for feedback to continually improve the work environment.
Mix it up with Casual Fridays and virtual events, and don’t forget to be flexible if required.
By making a few simple changes, your team will be more engaged, satisfied, and ready to work.