TSI Blog

Employee Engagement Need Not Be Far-Flung When It Comes To Remote Workers

October 21st, 2014 by Alison McKinney

Thanks to a faster than ever and even more readily accessible Internet, remote workers tend to have access to all the same technologies and information that office and on-site employees have, but with none of the office politics and distractions that can often adversely affect performance and productivity.

Because remote workers are left on their own with the responsibility to get their work done, they often feel more in control of their work schedules, keeping them on task. When employees feel like their jobs are important, their performance and productivity increases and often stay with the organisation longer, becoming strong assets.

But it’s still a challenge to keep remote workers engaged in their jobs and the office culture. Out of sight, however, shouldn’t mean out of mind.

Here, we’d like to give you some ideas as to how you can keep your remote workers as engaged in their work as possible.

Communication

This is absolute key to keeping remote employees engaged. Many employees enjoy the social aspect of working life, but miss out on this workplace socialisation. They can also feel isolated from their managers and colleagues, keeping back questions until a scheduled meeting.

Ensure there is always a constant, clear and open line of communication either by instigating telephone calls, teleconferences with not only the manager, but the rest of the team too.

E-mail communication is fine, but social media offers plenty of other ways to communicate such as hosting live chats, video streaming and live blogging.

Provide fast and consistent feedback on work completed and make sure the next meeting or call is scheduled in so the remote worker knows they are not out on a limb.

Personal Touch

Not all communication should be about the work load. Remote workers are still a part of your workplace, even though they may not come into the office often, so not all communication should be about the work that needs to be done.

It’s important to share office culture information to help keep remote workers more connected and engaged. For example, if your office is starting a Christmas or birthday fund so that all employees receive a gift, tell them so they can contribute and reap the benefits too.

Share new or amended office policies, such as entering your department code in the photocopier before making copies or what to do should the fire alarm go off. They may not need that information today, but eventually, they’ll be more comfortable on the days that they come into the office.

Contact remote employees spontaneously from time to time, just to make sure all is fine, and send handwritten notes thanking them for their hard work.

Professional Development

Remote employees don’t benefit from the informal professional development that occurs in a typical workplace, such as learning a new email trick from a co-worker. But just the same as office or on-site employees, remote workers also deserve the chance to build their skill sets.

Hold regular discussions with the remote workers about skills they’d like to learn or improve on, and work with them to attend training either in-house, or a training facility to give them the tools they need to do a better job or seek a career promotion. Knowing that working remotely isn’t compromising their ability to learn and grow helps remote workers increase and maintain levels of employee engagement in their current activities.

Recognition

Just the same as those who work in-house, remote employees deserve the recognition for their achievements and efforts – even if these are small achievements, it can go a long way to keep your co-workers engaged.

If a remote worker went beyond what was expected of them to help a team colleague complete a project, make sure recognition is afforded with a communication out to all staff, making sure the remote worker gets a copy.

Should the remote worker successfully complete a training course, personally deliver their certificate of completion or at the next team meeting after inviting them to attend.

For more personal recognition, send flowers, a gift basket or vouchers thanking them for their hard work a valuable contribution to business success.

If you would like more information about employee engagement for in-house employees, or remote workers, or both, then contact us on +44 (0) 255 850051.

Written by Alison McKinney
Alison McKinney is the Project and Quality Assurance Manager at The Survey Initiative, a dedicated employee research organisation devoted to helping its clients gain insight and understanding into what drives employee engagement in their business. Alison has extensive experience in project management and quality assurance and has recently worked on projects for clients as diverse as: WSP Middle East. Natural History Museum, Peverel, Marine Stewardship Council, Accor UK &Ireland and Thompsons Solicitors. Visit http://www.surveyinitiative.co.uk for more information.

2 responses

Posted by: Employee Engagement Need Not Be Far-Flung When …
October 21, 2014

[…]   […]

Posted by: Rebecca
October 22, 2014

These are great tips for improving engagement with remote employees. And it’s an important area that needs addressed because more and more companies are offering the remote-work option. I write a lot about employee engagement and communication for my company’s blog, and I wrote an article a few months ago about this exact topic: http://vingapp.com/5-effective-communication-tips-manage-remote-employees/

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