This is an update of our popular article regarding employee engagement. Based upon recent Gallup data obtained by Axios, employees can be more or less engaged depending upon work location.
Levels of employee engagement differ by work location
Below are the perentage of workers (by work setting) who reported that they are strongly connected to their employer’s overall mission and purpose:
- 28% of fully remote workers replied that they were fully connected to their company’s overall mission
- 33% of workers reporting to an onsite, in office setting feel fully engaged to their company’s overall mission
- 35% of workers approved for flexible hybrid working arrangements reported to be the most engaged and connected with their company’s overall mission and purpose.
While there were statistical differences in the reported level of connectedness by location, the differences may not be considered statistically significant. Therefore, employees who feel less engaged and lack high levels of affinity with their employers pose a problem for employers and employees alike.
Past studies: as remote work increased engagement decreased
The global pandemic pushed many of us to change our lifestyle completely and switch into a full remote mode, including our work. It has fast become a remote workers paradise.
You might ask, isn’t it a good thing? After all, remote work and flexible hours are a long time coming, and people have been asking for these changes for a while.
Indeed, according to the statistics, at least 77% of Millennials supported remote work, saying that it would benefit their overall productivity.
However, although exciting for many people, these changes come at a price. And, in many cases, when just introduced to remote work, people start struggling with engagement.
Lack of engagement among remote workers has always been an issue. A 2018 study by Walden University investigated this problem and indicated that:
- when the number of remote workers increases, engagement decreases
- 70% of remote workers in the U.S. are not engaged at work, which costs their organizations over $550 billion a year
Other articles you might like:
- Remote Employee Engagement Tools
- Gamification and Employee Engagement for Increased Motivation
- Ten Interpersonal Tips for Remote Managers
According to this study, the key factor that contributes to the drop in engagement is the lack of belonging to work culture. However, with the outbreak of the pandemic, people encountered other factors that negatively affected engagement – distractions at home, social isolation, etc.
As a result, while remote work is something that will inevitably become a part of every organization in the future, keeping workers engaged is the main obstacle for company management.
Tips to Boost Engagement of Your Remote Workers
Unfortunately, when employee engagement drops, it consequently affects their productivity as well. Workers become disorganized, miss deadlines, and become generally demotivated.
If you find your remote workers becoming less and less engaged, there’s something you can do right now to fix this issue. Here are a few useful tips you can incorporate to boost the engagement of your remote workers.
1. Provide Opportunities for More Communication
We already mentioned that many remote workers feel less engaged and unmotivated because they feel they don’t belong to the work culture of their organization.
This factor is strongly connected with social isolation that comes as a result of remote work. Reportedly, 20% of remote workers struggle with loneliness and struggle because of the lack of feedback.
On that note, according to Gallup, remote workers are 3 times more likely to be engaged if they receive feedback from managers at least three times a month. This shows how important regular communication is in boosting engagement.
Here’s what you can do as a manager to provide opportunities for more communication:
- Don’t rely on email too much. Remote work is all about quick and effortless interactions, and email is not the best channel for that. So, reserve email communication only to formal interactions.
- Introduce an integrated communication platform. Platforms, like Slack and Monday.com, allow big teams to exchange instant messages in an interactive and engaging way, which is a perfect alternative for communication via email.
- Create room for online water cooler conversations. Work is not always about doing business. In order to maintain their connections, your remote workers need space to also interact with each other on other topics as well. Using communication platforms, you can encourage your remote workers to create online chatrooms, where they can talk at any time.
Proper communication is one of the main obstacles in remote work, and this is the first issue you, as a team manager, should tackle. When all the channels of communication are successfully established, it will be easier for your remote employees to get engaged and productive.
2. Discuss Goals on a Daily Basis
Daily interactions among remote workers are essential for maintaining relationships at a workplace and keep their sense of belonging to the organization strong. However, there’s something you can do as a manager on a daily basis as well to keep engagement high.
Daily goal-setting is a practice that has proven to be effective in boosting the productivity of the employees in general. This practice comes from positive psychology and focuses on boosting productivity through daily motivation.
In an organizational environment, regular goal setting can help:
- make employees feel more involved in projects from start to finish
- adapt to the needs of employees in real-time
- monitor employee performance more effectively
What can you do as a team manager to use the benefits of goal-setting to boost the engagement of your remote workers?
Daily sync meetings at the beginning of the working day are a great idea to motivate your remote workers from the start.
During these meetings, you can assign smaller goals your employees should achieve during the day and explain how these achievements will contribute to the larger goals. Such meetings work great to maintain the high engagement of your remote workers on a daily basis.
3. Engage Through Recognition
Reminding and discussing daily goals is certainly a good strategy to motivate your remote workers, but to effectively maintain their engagement, you need to recognize and praise their achievements.
According to the study by Gallup, employee recognition should come from different management levels:
- 28% of workers expect more recognition from their managers
- 24% of employees want more praise from high-level leaders and CEOs
- only 9% of workers want recognition from their peers
As you can see, your recognition as a manager can be a powerful source of motivation for your remote workers, making them feel more engaged and productive.
While you can recognize the daily achievements of your employees during daily meetings, you will need something more tangible to feel that they are really appreciated.
Employee reward programs can help you achieve that. Through these programs, you can create memorable experiences for your employees, and these programs can be operated remotely.
Fond’s employee reward program can be the perfect solution for managers striving to maintain the high engagement of their remote workers. Our program allows your employees to:
- send points to each other to recognize achievements
- celebrate major accomplishments
- redeem rewards from collected points
- get corporate perks
The biggest perk of integrating the employee reward program is that it functions in real-time, allowing your employees to send comments and share feedback right away.
Other articles you might like:
- Keep your remote team connected with a virtual coffee break
- How to plan a virtual retreat for your remote team
- How to keep remote employees engaged and motivated
- The advances of remote work monitoring tools
4. Offer Employees to Document Work-From-Home Experience
While managing your employees remotely, it is important to remember that, for many of them, it is a new experience, and they might find it hard to adjust to the new reality of remote work.
And, since you cannot observe their assimilation process yourself, you can ask them to document their accomplishments and struggles they go through while working from home.
One way they can do it is by running a small blog or an online diary, where they can make small entries describing how their working day.
However, writing is not the most favorite activity for some of your employees, you can encourage them to track their progress on social media. For example, they can film a series of stories and create Highlights on Instagram, documenting their process of assimilation to remote work.
When the quarantine ends, you and your employees can get together to discuss the ups and downs of working from home and touch upon the biggest struggles they faced. These insights will give you an idea, how to make your remote work policy more effective in the future.
5. Hang Out Together… Remotely
Unfortunately, in the wake of the global pandemic, it is no longer possible for your employees to hang out with each other physically and organize events.
However, it doesn’t mean that the virtual world doesn’t offer any opportunities to enjoy their time together. As a team manager, you can generate a few ideas to help your remote workers hang out outside of work and connect.
One way you can do it is by organizing watch parties on Facebook or Twitch, watch and discuss the entire movies or TV shows, while staying at home.
Another idea is to visit online museum tours and exhibitions. Probably, one of the positive things that the world could get from the global pandemic is the ability to go to museums without having to leave the house.
For instance, you can even take your remote workers to one of Louvre’s online tours, and enjoy Egyptian Antiquities or decorative arts completely for free.
Your employees are going through a difficult time adjusting to the new reality, that’s why you need to incorporate more employee appreciation ideas to keep their engagement and motivation high.
Such virtual events can help you boost the productivity of your remote workers, better connect with them, and improve overall employee satisfaction.
To achieve better results, these tips for remote workers and engagement should be practiced on a regular basis. It is also important to observe how your employees respond to these methods, and adjust your strategy to fit their needs, as you go.
Hopefully, these tips will help your remote workers feel more engaged and empowered in this new harsh reality. By incorporating these tips now, you and your organization will be better prepared for the future because remote work will be an inevitable part of it.
Author’s bio. Daniela McVicker is a blogger and a freelance writer who works closely with B2B and B2C businesses providing blog writing, copywriting, and ghostwriting services. Currently, she blogs for Essayguard. When Daniela isn’t writing, she loves to travel, read romance and science fiction, and try new wines.