Remote work is on the rise. A lot of organisations have resolved to remove working during the covid19 lockdown. This has drastically evolved beyond the predicted trend.
Remote working is when the workers of an organisation are allowed to work from any location. This means that the workers don’t have to be physically present in the office, when not necessary.
The advancements in technology have made remote working more flexible and has enhanced more scheduling options.
Another key factor driving the pivot to remote work is the growing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Owning to the pandemic, professionals and workers around the world are practicing social distancing. Hence, working from home to help limit the spread of germs and stay healthy and safe has been of great importance.
Many business leaders have been prompted to adapt to managing employees virtually and finding different ways to keep them engaged and informed.
Managing Employees Virtually
Organizations have resulted in using technology to perform their daily office work whilst working from home. Some of the approaches include holding meetings and teleconferencing on zoom, GoToMeeting, google hangout, youtube, and even WhatsApp group calls, among others.
In addition to the remote work, major tasks and activities are done online, reportings are done digitally.
Sales and Marketing
So many organisations who can’t have access to their customers in the bricks and mortar setting have now considered going digital, getting their clients online.
More organisations are building and upgrading their website. This has assisted them to stay hooked with their clients.
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So many organisations are now leveraging on social media and search engines to keep their businesses going.
Here are five effective tips to boost your team’s performance. These tips to help foster engagement when your employees are remote.
HOW TO ENGAGE REMOTE EMPLOYEES
1. Hold Regular Check-In Meetings
When working remotely, frequent check-ins are vital to employee engagement.
This will assist in ensuring tracking ongoing tasks, get feedback and check-in meetings so as to have a positive impact on the organization.
Research by Gallup shows employees who regularly meet with their managers are three times more engaged than those who don’t.
Since there are no face-to-face interactions that come with working in an office, the need for regular check-ins is even more important when managing remote employees.
A Harvard Business School Professor, Anthony Mayo in the online course Leadership Principles said, “It’s difficult to understand what’s going on in the office and the subtle nuances that may impact the way in which colleagues interact with each other”.
He added that a key to confronting these challenges is to engage in more extensive communication than you might if everyone were in the same location.
Hence, it is important to schedule regular and recurring meetings with your team. You can use tools like video conferencing software to share information and delegate tasks and responsibilities. By so doing, you can ensure your employees feel more connected and aligned on objectives.
2. Showing Recognition
It is important you notice and praise your team’s work not only boosts employee engagement but reaps several other benefits. Some of the benefit for noticing and praising your team’s work including:
- Stronger organisational loyalty
- Higher staff and customer retention rates
- Greater productivity across board
A little can go a long way when it comes to workplace recognition. A show of appreciation boosts employees’ motivation and morale.
Take note of your team members’ contributions with simple words of appreciation.
3. Engage in Collaborative Goal-Setting
Setting specific, attainable goals is critical to your team’s success. Research shows formal, structured goal-setting leads to higher levels of employee engagement, which, in turn, drives workplace optimism and individual performance.
Besides a clearly defined objective, effective goal-setting requires outlining a series of smaller, actionable steps that need to be accomplished to achieve the desired end result.
Use goal-setting as a means of empowering your team members to take on greater responsibilities and bolster their skills. Some examples might include inviting one of your employees to lead a critical team meeting to enhance their decision-making, or suggesting an online class to further their knowledge of a technical business discipline, such as business analytics.
As you discuss goals with your remote employees, highlight how each individual’s efforts connect to the work of their colleagues and the company as a whole. By doing so, you can improve performance by up to 10 percent.
4. Solicit Input and Encourage Participation
In addition to setting goals, find other ways to collaborate with your remote team members and solicit their input. Data from IBM shows 83 percent of employees have a more positive work experience when they feel their ideas and suggestions matter.
When leading virtual meetings, strive to create a psychologically safe environment in which team members feel welcome to speak up and share their opinions. This is especially important when facilitating organizational processes, like team decision-making. You enable more innovative problem-solving when you surface and debate diverse perspectives.
According to HBS Dean Nitin Nohria, who’s featured in the online course Management Essentials, it’s your responsibility as a manager to allow for alternative points of view to emerge and be considered.
“If someone has the contrarian point of view in a meeting, and everyone else is against them, one of your jobs as a leader is to side with them—even if you don’t agree—to make sure their viewpoint gets heard,” Nohria says. “It’s very important, if there’s a minority opinion in the room, to not cut it off too quickly.”
By encouraging participation among your team and allowing for alternative views to emerge, you can ensure your employees feel both valued and engaged.
5. Create Opportunities for Personal Connection
Beyond meetings and collaborative projects, create opportunities for your employees to socialize and build personal connections virtually. Research by Gallup has found that employees with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged than their colleagues and are:
- More effective at engaging customers
- Produce better work
- Have higher well-being
“The real challenge is ensuring that, as a remote employee, you’re creating the types of personal connections and support systems that enable you and your team to thrive,” says Mayo in Leadership Principles. “You need to create substitutes for the casual hallway conversations, meals, and accidental interactions that typically happen in the course of a day and week when everyone in the team is geographically in the same place.”
Some suggestions for cultivating camaraderie among your remote team include leveraging video conferencing software to host a virtual happy hour, or organizing an online book club so employees can bond over a shared interest.
By enabling this kind of virtual team-building, you and your employees can forge deeper, more meaningful relationships with each other.
ENGAGING YOUR TEAM
Engaging remote employees brings a unique set of challenges. By taking advantage of digital tools, communicating constantly, showing appreciation, and finding ways to collaborate and connect, you can effectively manage your team and overcome the barriers imposed by physical distance.