The number of companies with a remote work setup has risen in recent years, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This arrangement allows employees to work from the comforts of their homes.
However, some companies have realized that a remote work setup is a double-edged sword. While it has benefits, it also has disadvantages.
The transition to remote work reduced the ability of managers and employees to assess each other. Without physical cues, one cannot determine if the other is having a rough day. They also cannot monitor each other’s productivity, which can affect their overall work in the long run.
Remote working arrangements have also caused employees to disconnect from their team and feel lonelier at home. This detachment leads some to quit their job or become unproductive.
7 Ways to Engage Your Remote Employees
Businesses should maximize their efforts to create and maintain excellent relationships among remote employees. Here are seven ways to engage your remote team.
1. Maximize your work communication channels
A crucial element of remote work is communication. It allows you to get real-time updates about your team and their outputs. Therefore, maximize communication channels as much as possible to ensure everyone remains productive and motivated.
For instance, use video conferencing apps and software like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. These platforms can help your remote employees work efficiently together. Video or audio meetings allow you to discuss matters in one sitting and generate collaborative ideas from your team.
If everyone has no time for a video call, you can use text channels such as Slack and Google Hangouts instead. They can help you send or respond to questions without disrupting workflow.
2. Create a non-work-related communication channel
Having a separate channel for non-work-related conversations gives your employees a chance to get to know each other better. It gives them a breather to share jokes, discuss common interests, and build stronger work relationships.
Allowing employees to be themselves can help alleviate their stress and ease their loneliness for working remotely.
3. Plan engaging activities
The remote work setup takes out the physical interactions that previously sustained employee relationships in the office. Alternatively, you can initiate team engagements allowing employees to share something about themselves and build personal connections.
It will give them a sense of companionship, contributing to their camaraderie and productivity at work.
4. Provide regular feedback
Limited interactions may cause some employees to withdraw socially from the team. As such, giving them opportunities to provide and receive feedback will encourage them to stay connected and involved with the team.
Giving and receiving feedback is also an excellent way to assess their status and needs. It provides insights into whether you need to improve your remote team workflow. Feedback gives your employees the impression that you are checking on them despite the physical boundaries. It shows you are reaching out and guiding them to improve their performance.
5. Be a good listener
Listening is one way to create positive results and improve your relationship with your remote team. Smiling and tilting your chin lower during video calls can create a light mood between you and the person speaking.
When an employee speaks, ask them to elaborate on their ideas instead of inserting your narrative. Doing so makes them feel acknowledged and will encourage them to speak more on future occasions.
6. Show empathy for your team’s struggles
The remote work setup often blurs the line between personal and professional lives. It is inevitable for some of your team members to deal with personal issues while working.
Without genuinely understanding and empathizing with their concerns, you cannot sustain a great relationship with your remote team. Whether or not you have experienced their struggles, it is essential to acknowledge them and suggest solutions when asked.
7. Create a culture of gratitude and recognition
A simple thank you can go a long way in a remote work setup. Your employees can no longer interact with their peers as much as they did before the pandemic. As such, recognizing their accomplishments can give them an immediate boost in motivation and acknowledgment.
Commend your employees in team meetings while giving constructive feedback about their work. This way, you can share your gratitude for their contributions and hard work. You can also encourage them to beat their weaknesses, improve their skills, and become better employees moving forward.
Communication is the Heart of Remote Team Management
The remote team setup may have eliminated opportunities for your employees to interact with each other like before. Still, it should never affect the efficiency of your overall communication.
Communicate with your employees to remain productive at work and create and sustain interpersonal relationships. Regular engagement ensures that your team’s goal to succeed will never change, despite changes in communication and interactions. It should further encourage you to maximize conversations and discussions.
Regina del Rosario is from Booth & Partners, a Seattle-based company with operations in the Philippines. With a solid background in conducting interviews with multiple candidates to identify the one with the most potential. Hired over 100 applicants for positions in dozens of industries and campaigns, at levels ranging from interns to upper-level management. Excellent communication abilities, including written and oral, professional and interpersonal. Highly organized and is able to complete several complicated administrative tasks simultaneously.