Best Strategies for Keeping a Remote Workforce Engaged
The traditional workforce is changing! In 2015, 24 percent of all employees did some or all of their work from home. The figure is up from 19 percent in 2014 and that number increases every year. There’s a reason why a remote workforce is becoming more and more popular. New surveys have found out that remote workers are more productive and happier, which is obviously to the benefit of their employer. While telecommuting comes with many benefits, there are certain aspects (such as lack of engagement) to be overcome.
As an employer who’s offering workers some flexibility, you can do a number of things to maintain high levels of engagement. Here are some of the best approaches.
Help Them Choose the Right Work Place
Many telecommuting and remote workers choose their home for the completion of important business tasks. While it does offer convenience, a home office can also be problematic in a number of ways.
For starters, there are multiple distractions that people who don’t have the right level of discipline will be incapable of handling on their own. In addition, a home office could pose some limitations in terms of the available technologies.
Research suggests that coworking is a much better possibility for a remote workforce.
Multiple studies suggest that coworking boosts effectiveness and happiness at work. There’s a feeling of community without the added pressure that stems from spending time at the office – the atmosphere is much more informal and it provides opportunities for networking with all kinds of professionals.
Coworking can get the creative juices flowing. This isn’t important solely for writers and graphic designers. Creativity can help managers, accountants and team leaders find solutions to some of the most pressing business problems.
Companies that are actively engaged in helping their remote workers find the best workplaces tend to maintain high levels of engagement and productivity. This is the main reason why a coworking membership will make a lot of sense under the specific employment arrangement.
Frequent Communication and Positive Work Culture
One of the main problems that remote workers deal with is that they sometimes feel isolated. Isolation usually leads to a lack of engagement that may be somewhat difficult to address.
Regular communication is incredibly important with remote employees. It could come in the form of a weekly video chat, participation in office brainstorming sessions (via live streaming technology) or actual meetings scheduled on a regular basis.
A person should feel like a part of the specific organization. Sharing the company’s culture and interacting with other team members can help bridge the gap and create the sense of belonging that some remote workers are lacking.
There should be a set of values and rules guiding the communication with telecommuting employees or freelancers. Clear guidelines will give people a much better idea in terms of what the company is all about. If corporate values are the same as personal ones, employees will find it much easier to remain actively engaged.
A good set of stimuli could be one of the most effective possibilities for overcoming disengagement.
Employee recognition programs should apply both to the people in the office and your remote workers. Make sure you have clear guidelines about the types of accomplishments that will be recognized and the specific bonuses in place for each.
A reward doesn’t have to be a massive one in order to boost engagement levels. A mass company email that recognizes the biggest accomplishments of the month will often be sufficient.
It’s also a good idea to consider investing in further employee training. Professional qualification programs create a sense of loyalty and they also help workers increase their productivity through enhanced practices. Such opportunities should be extended to remote workers, as well.
Use the Right Data to Measure Effectiveness
Engagement and effectiveness are two concepts that are intimately connected to each other. The good news is that you have numerous tools at your disposal to measure those and find out whether telecommuting is delivering the expected benefits.
Automatic tracking, progress reports and activity logs can help you learn a lot about the behavior and the work habits of your telecommuting employees. Based on this data, you can consider changes and improvements that will deliver even better results in the future.
Self-reporting is far from the best approach. Sometimes, people will exaggerate their accomplishments. In other instances, the reports will be inaccurate or they’ll contain errors. While such mistakes do occur, they can make it much more difficult to track performance.
Maintaining remote workforce engagement will necessitate active effort on your behalf. Establishing the right culture and coming in possession of much-needed tools will give you the foundation. While you’ll have to put work in the process, all of this effort will pay off very soon.
About the Author: Alice Clarke is an "enthusiast" writer. Follow her on Facebook.
Workbar operates seven coworking locations in the Boston area (Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, Norwood, Brighton, Danvers) and several other network partner locations throughout the state. Workbar Bay Bay is coming soon- Summer 2017. Want to keep up with the World of Workbar? Subscribe to our newsletter for the most up-to-date information about our upcoming events and community news. You can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.