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  • Dallas Fontaine

Two Crucial Ways to Keep Your Remote Employees Engaged



So because of the recent outbreak in COVID-19, your company has made the executive decision that everyone needs to work remotely. 

You have some remote workers but you aren't prepared to have your whole workforce working from home! How are you going to keep people engaged?! How do you keep the company culture alive if you can no longer have team lunches, in person meetings, and company celebrations? 

Here are two crucial components of employee engagement for remote teams.

  1. Build a Communal Place to Communicate Online

When you work with an in-person team, there are plenty of opportunities throughout the day to stop, chat, and connect. Those informal conversations and connections help build a rapport that carries over into meetings, making people feel more engaged and perhaps more comfortable voicing their opinions or offering critical feedback. 

One study found that workers who shared a funny or embarrassing story about themselves with their team produced 26% more ideas in brainstorming sessions than workers who didn’t. And the benefits of having a best friend at work have also been well documented.

But remote team members don’t necessarily have those opportunities, which is why leaders and managers have to be proactive and create them. If most team members haven’t spoken or met before, they’ll likely be reluctant to share or debate ideas in front of others. So before making virtual meetings a regular part of your team’s workflow, it’s important to get everyone comfortable with communicating with each other.

What’s a great way to do that? Build a “virtual watercooler”—a communal place online where team members can get to know each other and connect outside of structured meetings. Giving distributed teams a shared space to connect online helps them:

  • Get comfortable (and, let’s face it, feel less awkward) communicating across digital channels with people they haven’t met in person

  • Get to know other members of the team and their expertise

Feel like they are an equal and integral part of the team, despite their geographic location

  • Identify any potential issues when it comes to communication styles or differing points of view ahead of meetings

A virtual watercooler can be a specific place (like a Slack channel) or a set of shared traditions (like daily video check-ins or a weekly virtual happy hour). As long as it connects your team and familiarizes them with one another before meetings happen, it will help lay the foundation for successful online meetings.

2. Recognition Tool 

Once you have an easy to use communication tool that allows your whole organization to communicate effectively, you can consider the next step on how to show appreciation.

Working from home presents managers and peers less opportunity to say thank you to one another. It’s also hard for employees to connect the dots and understand how the work they do from home helps everyone when they don’t see each other.

At the same time, it’s more important than ever for managers and peers to recognize each other for their great work so they stay engaged and connected.

When asked what leaders could do more of to improve engagement, 58% of respondents replied “give recognition.” (Psychometrics)

This is where a recognition tool like The Perk becomes so valuable! The two basic functions that you will need from a recognition tool include:

Consistency

With The Perk, managers and peers are able to say thank you and send each other recognition and rewards remotely. You can make it a point to recognize contributions that employees make on a regular basis easily.

Gallup recommends that employees should receive recognition at least once every seven days to stay engaged.

Visibility

The second part to the equation is to ensure that this recognition is highly visible so the team is aware of the important contributions everyone makes.

With The Perk, every time someone receives a recognition or reward, they can see & participate through the Slack integration. Therefore everyone doesn’t miss the valuable contributions of others and feels like the company culture of appreciation hasn't disappeared — in fact, it inspires employees to put their best foot forward and do great work.

Bottom line, your organization should think of a formal process to replace the organic thank you’s that normally happen in the office. 

Office Perks

Another component to consider in the space of recognition is employee office perks.

If the office provided coffee, a gym, massages, birthday celebrations, or other perks, employees will miss these small gestures to recognize their hard work that made their day fun and easier.

With The Perk, you can continue to provide these “office perks” for remote employees. Lunches, coffee, birthday rewards, work anniversaries, and more can be provided through the platform remotely for the employees to use where they choose near their home or online.

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In conclusion, two core components of a successful work from home policy include a formal process for communication and recognition.

It may seem overwhelming to need to make changes with recent world events, on the other hand it’s an opportunity to re-evaluate strategies that can engage employees when they work at the office and remote in the long term.

To learn more, feel free to schedule a one-on-one consultation with our team to help you navigate your transition to a remote work environment

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