Work from Home Diary: How to Engage Remote Employees

By Hani Khan

Remote collaboration technology has helped this mandatory work from home policy become easier. Remote working tools like video conferencing, chat and collaborative tools have made it possible to be productive and simulate a working environment while at home.

While working from home does have its benefits, it also comes with it’s own fair share of obstacles. The most common one is keeping virtual employees engaged and up to date on communications. Without the relationship-building that comes with an in-person office setting, teams can lose their culture of collaboration in the workplace. As virtual workplaces have expanded, workers reported that “their work lives often lacked a sense of community and the richness of collaboration. Many experienced far too little unstructured social contact.” To ensure ongoing success with this model, keeping remote employees connected is the No. 1 priority for managers.

How to Engage Remote Employees

Video Conferencing

If you’re used to seeing a teammate 5 days of the week and then don’t see them at all, it can feel a little isolating. Having regularly scheduled team video calls are a great way to align the whole team and offer an opportunity to just catch up as if you were in the office. Even an ‘after hours virtual happy hour’ gives a chance for remote employees to feel engaged and connected to the broader organization.

Instant Messaging Tools

Instant messaging in the workplace is a great way to get fast, casual responses in an immediate manner instead of sending an email. It’s a great way to facilitate conversation with employees that are spread out geographically and closes the distance gap. Make sure that you’re still checking in on employees and facilitating whatever they may need.

Utilize an Internal Communications Platform

Communication is key to keeping remote employees engaged and in the know on the direction of the company and business. Engaging remote employees lets them know they’re an integral part of the organization and that the company is invested in building a relationship. Oftentimes, the social needs of employees are overshadowed by business-oriented values such as productivity and efficiency, especially in this unprecedented time. It’s important to understand how culture and engagement impact employee and company performance.

The intranet is the ideal technology to continually enforce purpose, drive alignment, and build community. When it comes to staying connected with your broader company, emails, productivity suites, and video conferencing tools can only extend so far because they are not designed to streamline communication from the top-down.

Give Employees a Purpose

Oftentimes, employees can feel like they’re running on automatic and are just a small part of a large organization, that their work doesn’t have an impact. It’s important for managers and leadership to make individuals feel like their work matters and is valued. By giving employees a purpose, they’re likely to be productive and find opportunities to expand their role to benefit the company.

Create Team Bonding Activities

Communication is essential for maintaining culture and engagement especially during this unprecedented time. At Simpplr, we set up a site on our own modern intranet platform to encourage team bonding from home. Every day at Noon PST, we share a fun prompt that solicits responses from across the organization and allows collaboration across departments. It’s important to facilitate social connections among employees that will increase engagement during the workweek.

Employee Recognition and Appreciation

Employee appreciation is an important human necessity at the workplace. Recognition helps employees know that their work and efforts are acknowledged and appreciated. As companies grow in size, leadership must think about the added value to the employee experience and especially to the recognition program.

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