Want to know how keep your employees engaged while working from home? Here are 5 top internal communications trends and tips to promote productivity in remote companies.
Remote work isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As the working world returns to normal, there are many things that will be different – such as the introduction of hybrid working, flexible hours, and many teams working remotely. The fact is, remote working was on the rise long before the pandemic occurred, and it looks set to continue in years to come. Flexibility is attracts potential employees, with 70% of millennials claiming that they’d change their job for one offering a more flexible working environment. But it’s not just employees benefiting from remote work culture – there are pros for companies too, such as lower costs and a larger, often more global, talent pool to choose from.
While working remotely has many proven positives, there are also many challenges to be faced by organizations to ensure a smooth WFH arrangement – and one of the biggest is employee engagement. If your employees are engaged, it can have a positive impact on your company reputation, customer satisfaction, and stakeholder value.
What Is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement refers to the correlation between the employee and the organization they work for. It’s a two-way street, based on communication and commitment between the employee and their employer. It increases the chances for success, performance, and productivity, as engaged employees are more involved and committed to their work.
How to Engage Employees While WFH
We know that employee engagement is crucial for boosting productivity while WFH, but how exactly can you better engage your remote employees? Based around communication and appreciation, this article will cover some of the best ideas for keeping your employees engaged while working remotely from some of the best brands out there.
1. Create a Remote Work Culture
Transitioning from a 9-to-5 job to working from home could have a major impact on internal communications within your organization. To keep things going, you’ll need to create a virtual office.
Communications platforms and instant messaging used to be synonymous with distractions, but in this new era, they’ve actually become a blessing. Faster than email and great for group convos or discussions, these types of tools offer an easier way to book meetings or video calls on a regular basis. Platforms such as Slack, Teams, Chanty, Zoom, or Google Meet make creating a virtual workspace a piece of cake, and maintaining regular check-ins and a unified communications system will make your remote workers feel as though they are a part of the organization and applying Robert’s Rules of Order might help you better structure your meetings.
In addition to daily or weekly catch-ups with your team, one-on-one meetings on communication platforms are crucial as they provide an opportunity to give feedback and understand the concerns of your employees. Forums are also useful locations where employees can share updates, whether professional or personal. It can also be fun to set up online games or quizzes for your community to boost their engagement and enthusiasm.
Troop Messenger is one such team collaboration application that can help employees share their views across chat, call, and conference. Its numerous work productivity features make teams wrap up their work conversations faster and more seamlessly. In addition, it lets add guest users or stakeholders to it for smooth client coordination instead of communicating with them on personal messengers.
Github has recently introduced the concept of virtual coffee breaks within their organization as a way for employees to take breaks and socialize. Similarly, content services company Steyer Content has introduced happy hour every week, and they use Slack to celebrate birthdays, post photos of themselves, families, or pets, talk about their favorite books, and even host karaoke parties. And Inbound Marketing Agency has even started hosting weekly Open Mic sessions, encouraging employees to perform poetry, comedy, music or even magic!
2. Set Goals
Let’s be honest – not having to commute to work is great, but when working remotely, it can be difficult to stay productive and manage the daily distractions in our houses.
One of the key factors in staying productive while WFH is to set up meaningful goals. Google, for example, manages their employees’ goals with objectives and key results. These objectives can further unify teams and help them work towards a common goal.
Setting SMART goals is a great way to help your remote employees work effectively:
- Specific – refers to particular parameters that need to be followed or observed, and specific goals which must be achieved.
- Measurable refers to trackable benchmarks that should be incorporated to achieve the set goal.
- Achievable refers to realistic goals and making sure they can be reached. Ask yourself if the goal is attainable.
- Relevant refers to the real benefit of reaching the set objectives. Here, you’d evaluate why this goal matters.
- Time-bound is the deadline. The goals cannot stretch forever and they need to be time-bound.
Setting goals for your remote employees improves communication, since teams tend to have regular check-ins to make sure they’re aligned to meet their objectives. This improves performance and makes employees feel connected to their work and colleagues.
3. Acknowledge Your Employees
Employee recognition is crucial for any organization’s success. When employees are acknowledged for their work, they feel valued and motivated to continue working hard.
Today’s HR tools, such as Bamboo, Zoho, Beehive, or HR One, can help bridge the physical and geographical barriers between managers and employees. And tools such as 15Five can also help with recognition between peers and team members.
The company ABInBev recently held their awards ceremony Rewards Townhall to talk about updates and projects, as well as the wellbeing of team members and their families, helping employees put their best effort into their work during these hard times.
Another way to make remote employees feel valued is to send care packages with treats or company gifts. You can also show appreciation by offering a spot bonus, or through hosting a virtual awards program and presenting the winners’ success stories through video interviews and social media shoutouts.
Appreciation tools such as e-cards are also great for a quick thank you or a well-done from employer to employee or between colleagues.
4. Encourage Learning
Encouraging your team to broaden their knowledge, upskill or learn new things can be a mutually beneficial way to keep your employees engaged. Udemy, ProProfs, MasterClass, or Pluralsight all enable employees to learn new skills and improve existing ones. People love workplaces that help them grow as individuals, and when the organization is involved in the learning process, employees are more likely to feel motivated and engaged.
Naturally, you can encourage your employees to take up both work-related and non-work related courses. Most e-learning platforms offer a wide range of courses, from graphic design and painting to pilates exercises and dancing, all of which can be great stress-relievers. For example, IT consulting company Infosys encouraged their employees to choose topics, add them to a playlist, create learning paths, and share these paths with their peers.
5. Offer Perks
Another awesome way to make your employees feel motivated is through perks. Whether it be benefits such as gifts, bonuses, or even time off, employees are likely to work harder and perform better if they have an incentive.
You could offer your employees to provide them with a working from home set up. This could include desks, ergonomic office chairs, seat cushions, or any other office supplies they may need. Whatever it may be, offering your team a little something is great for boosting morale and productivity, and will help to make their WFH experience as comfortable as possible.
San Francisco-based company Webflow set up a remote work stipend of $250 per month via Compt for their employees. This way, employees can adjust the company’s contribution to fit their own needs. You can create wellness programs to boost your employees’ emotional, physical, and mental health, negotiate discounts with different brands, or even offer childcare stipends or utilities and internet allowances.
The new era we’re living in has shown us that remote work will only continue to grow, which means we need to learn how to manage and engage remote employees. Leaders, managers, and employees must work together to make sure these measures are successful and make remote work – well – work!
Guest Author: Mia Naumoska
Mia Naumoska is a Chief Marketing Officer at Chanty – an easy-to-use team collaboration app with a mission to help companies boost team productivity. With over a decade of marketing experience, Mia is responsible for Chanty’s marketing strategy, managing an amazing team of marketing experts. Feel free to connect with Mia on LinkedIn.