Remote workers are becoming increasingly essential for companies, but how do you keep them involved and engaged?
When you fail to sync your remote employees with your company culture and in-house staff, it’s easy for insecurity and apathy to creep in. This can snowball into lack of motivation, low productivity and disengagement.
Here are four ways to make remote employees feel connected, in sync, appreciated and valued:
1. Understand their problems, and act on their behalf every day.
Remote colleagues might be hesitant to raise concerns or interrupt your schedule.
A lack of physical presence amplifies the situation. It’s more difficult to assess a problem without visual clues, physical proximity or body language.
To keep tabs on your colleagues and become more responsive to their needs, consider designating a “remote employee communication manager.”
This person can make daily check-ins with remote colleagues, including asking about the challenges they face, how the company can address particular issues and what they need to make their jobs easier.
This can greatly increase coordination, collaboration, teamwork and morale.
2. Use cloud-based collaboration tools.
Cloud-based resources help remote and onsite employees work together in real time. This keeps everyone on the same page, helping people to understand their role amid the big picture. Keeping remote colleagues in the loop will increase participation and camaraderie.
Popular collaboration tools include Slack, Trello, Google Docs and Zoom. Choosing the right platform depends on your needs and goals.
If you want to collaborate on in-depth reports and detailed drafts, try Google Docs, which allows up to 50 users to edit the same document. Google Docs features chat options, which can clear up copy confusion with real-time feedback. You can also set restrictions on who’s allowed to edit a document, rather than simply review it.
Slack, meanwhile, is tremendous for ongoing communications geared toward specific topics. You can even work on your Google Docs right from Slack, which centralizes the conversation.
3. Create a framework for accountability.
Maintain an activity log of remote colleagues to gauge the progress of their tasks. When everyone takes responsibility for their work, productivity goes up.
Coming up with accountability guidelines can be tricky for remote colleagues, but making everyone’s to-do lists public can help. Often, a person’s task depends on how far others have progressed on their end. When everyone knows one another’s timelines, it’s much easier to plan tasks and projects strategically.
It’s also important that remote colleagues know the metrics they are being held accountable for. Have your remote employee communication manager provide that information.
4. Help them develop professionally.
Remote employees often feel overlooked and left out. They don’t get to attend company functions or enjoy social activities with the staff, which can lead them to become detached. You can combat this by investing in remote workers’ education, enrichment and advancement.
Conduct online workshops through interactive webinars. Use online platforms to teach skills to both full-time and remote employees, so everyone can grow and benefit. By empowering and recognizing employees—especially remote workers who might be prone to job hopping—you can reduce turnover.
You might also consider providing career advancement options for remote employees. They should have a chance to advance, just like their colleagues in the office.
Keeping remote colleagues in sync requires a lot of hard work and patience, but the investment can reap huge benefits for your organization.