Remote Workforce Engagement – A Guide for Businesses
Overview of Remote Work Challenges
Over the pandemic, we saw a huge shift to the number of employees working remotely. Even today, the number of remote and hybrid workers far outstrips those from before. However, employee engagement is a painpoint among remote talent and something many companies struggle with. How does your company engage with and include people not in the office?
In this video we share our advice for companies looking to better engage remote workers through an inclusive culture. Featuring Brandon Kline from our Disability Inclusion Management team.
The Changing Landscape of Remote Work
Prior to the pandemic only 6% of workers were remote. At the height of the pandemic, as many as 35% of the workforce was working remotely, and that has since dropped to 26% (December 2022). However, this still poses a five-fold increase in the number of remote workers.
Furthermore, remote work is one of the most in-demand job types out there. Many employees are even willing to take a lesser paying job for the flexibility, comfort, and work-life balance that remote work can afford. With our modern technology, remote work is not going away.
Remote Work – A Range of Employee Experiences
While remote work is very popular, many express feelings of loneliness or trouble engaging with with the company. While some workforces feel fully integrated, others feel fragmented with remote workers gaining less visibility and less recognition for their hard work.
Thus, as a company who hires remote workers, you want to make sure that you’re creating a consistently positive experience for all of your employees no matter where they are.
What Can You Do?
- Regular check ins – just as you would with any other employee, its important for managers to have a cadence of regular check ins that are given the same priority as in-person check ins.
- Respecting their time – it’s important to make sure that when you schedule time with remote workers that you recognize their time is valuable and seek to prioritize showing up for those meetings the same as you would for employees in your building.
- Show your face – its important to utilize video chat in order to build rapport and have deeper engagement. This is especially important if you schedule a meeting and they show their face but you don’t show yours. Face time, even if 1,000 miles away, is still important.
- Show your support – make yourself always available to chat and consistently provide them feedback. It’s also important to remember to build relationships with your remote staff the same as you would in-person staff. It’s also important to remember to help ensure they take breaks and disconnect the same as on-site employees. Finally, provide recognition company-wide so everyone to celebrate their accomplishments.
- Host virtual events – it can be disappointing when an employee can’t join you for in-person event. Try alternating between on-site and virtual after-hours and team building events.
Many remote workers can feel challenges with being able to disconnect. If their bedroom is their office and if their phone and email goes off all hours of the day, it can be difficult for them to take necessary time away. As employers we need to be respectful of and honor those boundaries.
Finally, understand that differences in time zones may make it difficult for people to attend certain meetings scheduled earlier or later in the day.