How to Re-Engage with a Remote Team
The workforce, no matter what industry, has undergone a significant transformation in the last year. The coronavirus changed how people work, and it forced many offices to shut their doors, making their employees work from home. However, after being remote for over a year, some businesses have seen an increase in disengagement amongst team members. This is a big problem for all companies because employees are the key to having a successful organization.
But there are ways of re-engaging with individuals that won’t break the bank. And it’s worth leadership’s time to check-in on all employees. It can actually cost an organization $3,400 to $10,000 per disengaged employee as a report from McLean & Company found. Plus, a working team ensures deadlines are met and projects are completed, which helps the sustainability and growth of the company. So without further ado, here are some ways to re-engage a remote workforce.
Idea #1: Recognize Team Members
Yes, recognition is one of the go-to options when it comes to engaging employees. But it’s a top consideration for a reason: it works. Employees respond enthusiastically to being called out for a job well done. Teams enjoy having a moment in the spotlight after completing a project. Recognition can take place through instant messaging, company emails or even during meetings. Just take the time to do it.
But it’s not just the good things that need to be acknowledged. Embracing mistakes is another way to promote positivity. Yes, certain mistakes can be detrimental to a business, but sharing them with the whole team will provide a lesson to prevent it from happening again. Also, removing the stigma around making mistakes will show staff that although they are inevitable, the company takes them in stride to continue to do better.
Idea #2: Meet with People
Oh no, not another meeting for an already crammed schedule. That might be a common response to this option, but these meetings need to happen. This is a chance to meet with employees one-on-one and get their take on what’s going on, what they need help with, and what leadership needs to do to support them. Although it might start out as checking in on work projects, it can morph into an opportunity to learn more about every individual. Employees are much more than their job, and sharing personal details can help with showing an interest in their overall well-being and projects outside of the workplace.
This is a chance for managers to listen to their employees. That’s something that goes a long way in learning what’s going on for employees: listening. Too often leadership spends a majority of the time speaking and doesn’t allow individuals to talk. This can lead to employee problems or feelings being overlooked or ignored, which is not good. Listening allows people to feel like they’re being heard and understood. In addition, it’s a chance to glean ideas from the team or find solutions previously overlooked.
These meetings do not have to be just for managers and individual team members. It’s also an opportunity to provide mentorship between employees and across departments. Cross departmental meetings help remove communication barriers and project silos. And it helps employees learn more about each other and the company as a whole. It can assist teams with problem-solving as a whole rather than one person or team struggling to fix something. Collaboration is key to continuous improvement and growth within the organization.
Idea #3: Consider Restructuring the Day
Remote workers have a lot of easy distractions compared to working in an office. There’s often children or pets at home with them or household tasks that absorb their attention. That being said, these distractions can be used to a business’s advantage. Enforcing a flexible schedule allows employees to tackle those side jobs without feeling overwhelmed by their work, too. Being able to customize their working hours will help reduce weekly boredom among employees. In addition, this flexibility shows an organization’s consideration of an employee’s wellbeing and needs.
Aside from flexible working hours, managers should switch up weekly meeting schedules from time to time. Although some weekly sessions are non-negotiable, others may have the ability to be bumped around or skipped altogether. Removing these meetings frees up time for employees to focus on their tasks or use it for other purposes such as career development or education sessions.
Idea #4: Be Open and Honest
Honesty is the best policy, right? So maybe it’s time to be more truthful with employees. This can range from sharing customer feedback to updating the team on the business’s current financial situation. Employees want to know what’s going to impact their job. And they don’t have all the answers available to them. That’s where leadership comes in to engage in meaningful conversations about how things are actually going. Yes, it’s great to share a customer’s positive response, but managers also need to share when something big is coming down the road.
This truthfulness gives employees the opportunity to ask questions and prepare themselves. Open lines of communication allows them to be engaged with these situations and assist with different ways of solving problems. It’s not just the overall company’s well-being leadership needs to be honest about. Unengaged employees need to be reminded they are being watched. Not in a creepy way, but in a ‘hey, we see what you’re doing,’ manner. That way, managers can set expectations and also set the standard they take an active interest in what’s going on around them.
Idea #5: Let the Fun Times Begin
Okay, all work and no play is really a drag. And remote employees can feel that a lot easier because they are not in a setting where other team members are nearby. Besides, taking a break from the daily grind breaks up job monotony. Finding time to meet on non-work related topics is a surefire way to build employees’ interest. Instead of a presentation on a business related topic, open the floor up to someone else. Leadership can be surprised to learn about an individual's interests such as a garage band or cooking skills. These meetings are also a chance for people to improve their public speaking and presentation skills.
Scheduling lunch hour sessions can create an office atmosphere for people to catch up with each other like they would normally do in an office setting. Sending cards in the mail or appreciation packages filled with fun goodies are another way to showcase concern for individuals and appreciation for their hard work.
No matter which idea that a business uses, it’s important to reconnect with employees. Although remote work can make it easy to fall into bad habits, leadership needs to fight to keep individuals engaged and happy at work. Without a happy workforce, businesses can crumble. But executing these tactics will ensure a re-engaged remote team ready for success.