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Employees typically love the freedom and flexibility of working from home. There’s nothing like the satisfaction of working in your pajamas and knowing the longest commute of the day is from your desk to the coffee pot.
According to a study shared in the Harvard Business Review, about one-third of employees worldwide (registration required) work from home always or very often. There’s one growing problem with this trend, however — poor employee engagement.
Recent research shows that employees who consistently work from home are less engaged than their in-office counterparts. According to Gallup, “The problem is that as a group, fully remote workers — which could include work-from-home employees or those who have jobs that are mobile — have the lowest levels of engagement of all remote workers.” Another study explored what factors are responsible for the erosion of remote employee engagement and what decisions business owners can make to improve engagement within their remote team. The data showed that remote engagement and in-office engagement were vastly different, primarily due to feelings of isolation because of limited face-to-face interactions.
Despite these trends, business owners with remote workers want the same level of employee engagement found in traditional office settings. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to boost the levels of engagement throughout your remote team.
Hold video meetings.
One of the first ways to instantly bring your employees together and increase their engagement is through regular company meetings. The frequency of the sessions can vary, depending on the size and scale of your business. Typically, medium- to large-sized companies should hold meetings weekly.
The key to improving engagement during the meeting involves making sure your workers have their video on and giving them a chance to talk. Video chats are a great way to build trust and rapport with your employees, which will help make them care about you, their job and the company.
Video conferences help with the feelings of isolation that plague many remote workers. Seeing a smiling face, picking up small nuances in body language and holding a conversation are excellent ways to reinforce values and encourage a strong company culture.
There are multiple ways to encourage your employees to talk and engage with your business. You could start by asking if your employees did anything exciting over the weekend or have good news to share. Another effective way to get people talking is by asking everyone if they have any questions, thoughts or concerns on anything that was discussed in the meeting.
Separate chat channels.
Most online businesses use some form of chat to communicate with their employees and to facilitate workers’ ability to talk to each other. In many cases, it’s hard to start an organic conversation online. The typical process involves someone needing something, whether it’s a question or request, so they contact the person who can help them.
Instead, it’s possible to improve engagement by creating multiple chat channels for both work and fun conversations. For example, you could make a chat for internal communication among your marketing team, a support channel for staff members and a general chat or family chat for everyone to talk about useful or exciting things that may not have anything to do with work.
The great thing about these chat channels is people feel free to communicate and get to know the people they’re working with on a day-to-day basis. In addition, if people are free to talk when they have a question, it’s less likely that communication barriers will occur, and engagement will improve.
Another big problem that remote workers may face is feeling like they are not developing their skills and becoming better employees. According to the Gallup poll reference earlier, remote workers are 30% less likely than in-office employees to strongly agree that they’ve talked to a manager about steps to take to reach their professional goals in the last six months.
The reason that employees feel this way is simple — they are not getting the feedback they require from their managers. An excellent way to give your workers the advice and feedback they crave is through quarterly reviews. At the start of every quarter, give your workers tasks you want them to accomplish and provide them with the freedom to track and complete these tasks.
At the end of the quarter, review their work performance based on how well they accomplished their goals, and give them both positive and constructive feedback. It also helps to provide them with small feedback sessions in between. If they nail a project or help a coworker, give them a shout-out and let them know that you appreciate their work. Small gestures like this can have a considerable impact on engagement.
Increasing engagement can have a significantly positive impact on your business. Employees who are engaged in the company they work for care sincerely about their job and their coworkers. When your workers care about what they do, they are more likely to stay with your company and deliver an excellent customer experience because they are happy to be there and engaged in the company culture and values.
May 30, 2019 at 07:38AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs