Engaging Employees in the Remote Workplace

June 15, 2020
Remote Work, Telecommuting

Many business leaders have found new ways to engage their employees even though they may now work remotely. Here are some of the best strategies.

Loss of company culture: One of the top barriers to remote work according to business leaders. They wondered how their employees would stay engaged with their work and with each other if they were separated.

Enter 2020, where nearly everyone had to stop working or work remotely due to the global pandemic.

According to a recent Gartner survey1, 74 percent of business leaders believe that at least some of their newly remote employees will not need to return to the office once the current crisis has passed.

Remote working has gone from a nice-to-have perk to a way of life for a considerable number of employees around the world. Taking what they learn from the crisis and applying it moving forward will be a road to success for many companies.

And for many executives, those lessons have included new ways to engage their workers.

1 https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2020-04-03-gartner-cfo-survey-reveals-74-percent-of-orgs-to-shift-some-employees-to-remote-work-permanently/

Intentionality – When Interaction Can No Longer Be Accidental

Communication topped everyone’s list of concerns when they went remote this year, not only regarding how to get work done technologically, but also how to stay in touch with each other. For many leaders, that meant making their check-ins more regular and routine.

The first step for many was to invest in the right videoconferencing platform. Videoconferencing is as close as remote workers can get to getting face-to-face interaction. It is particularly critical for leaders to be visible and participatory, so managers leverage these technologies in morning huddles and 1-on-1s.

It’s a good practice. Not only to make sure everyone is meeting their goals, but also to stay social with remote workers, as they can often feel isolated or forgotten about (especially if there are other workers who see each other in person, as will be the case when people start shifting back to working in the office in phases).

Knowing they will have an opportunity to speak to the team or have 1-on-1 meetings with their manager at regular intervals helps remote workers feel more plugged in to what’s going on, without putting the onus on them to set up meetings or request phone calls.

Routines, including regular meetings, also help remote workers with one of their pet peeves: a lack of work-life balance. Plus, meetings signal that it’s work time, and trigger people’s professional mode, the same way their commute used to.

man giving online presentation by video chat in virtual meeting on Teamviewer Blizz

Motivation — Staying Productive Together

Perhaps the most logical concern of business leaders when their teams go remote is a drop in productivity, even though recent studies have shown remote work increases how much employees get done.

That being said, there are some things you can do to make sure your team stays on track.

Goal setting has never been more important. Not only should employees know what they are meant to be accomplishing on a daily basis and beyond (more regular meetings give you an opportunity to get on the same page on that front), but they also need to continue to work on their personal goals as well.

Staying Connected Internationally at TeamViewer

At TeamViewer, we have an established time every day for everyone to gather (virtually) and participate in stretching and light exercise to unplug and make sure we’re still focusing on our health. We’ve also added more e-learning content and are investigating revamping our language learning strategy so employees can still work toward their career aspirations. It’s just as important for leaders to talk regularly about personal goals in addition to business objectives, especially now when future change is the only certainty.

Comradery — Staying Social While Apart

Around the world, offices have come up with creative ways to maintain their culture and boost morale while being distanced:

  • GitLab employees take regular virtual coffee breaks. They’ve even developed a bot that pairs employees up randomly for chats.
  • Customer support company Help Scout spices up their video calls by letting everyone give virtual tours of their homes, like virtual show-and-tell.
  • Many companies have devoted a Slack channel or other discussion outlet to be a “water cooler” so everyone can congregate virtually without the need for an official meeting. They may also devote channels to specific hobbies so workers can connect based on interest.
  • Virtual pub crawls can spice up your next virtual happy hour, where the group visits a different interesting website on a shared screen every 15 minutes while having a beverage.
  • Since remote work is on everyone’s mind, companies often take the opportunity to highlight their strategies and even their employees’ workspaces on social media.

With strategic and interpersonal strategies like these, your team could become even more cohesive and productive than working in the same office space.

Enable your remote workforce to be 100% productive in a changing world for a better, more sustainable future.

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