10 Ideas to Keep your Remote Employees Engaged

2020 has proven to be a landmark year in several ways. It will forever be the year that many Filipinos got a taste of what it meant to work from home. While working from home is not a new trend, the pandemic greatly accelerated it, turning it to the default way many Filipinos work.

For employers and employees, alike, the trend has brought up a lot of unexpected positives. Many workers report better productivity and an improved work-life balance.  Some business owners also enjoy the vastly reduced overhead expenses.

But while many employees thrive when working alone, others find it much harder to cope during the “New Normal”. Many Filipinos are used to the social bonds that come with working in a conventional office. Many also find it hard to stay committed to their work when they’re away from their managers and coworkers.

In other words, in work from home arrangements, these people become what some management writers consider to be “disengaged employees”.

While the ideas below are not a silver bullet for fixing employee disengagement, they can help reduce some of its worst effects. Check out the ideas below to improve your remote employees’ engagement and overall happiness:

1.) Give them the tools they need to succeed
Many Filipino employees in a work-from-home situation may simply be ill-equipped to do their job effectively. This is simply because a lot of the equipment they may enjoy using at work is simply beyond their means to purchase for themselves.This can rapidly lead to job dissatisfaction, especially if they have significant workloads.

Consider either sending them the equipment and supplies they need or subsidizing their work-related purchases. You can also consider paying for their internet service upgrades if they constantly have issues with their internet connection, as well.

2.) Offer access to online counseling
Social isolation can worsen any existing mental health issues an employee may have had. Finding mental health experts that could provide regular counseling to employees via video calls can be a good step not just for maintaining their mental health, but for helping them advance in their professional lives as well.

3.) Communicate goals clearly
Because of the lack of direct contact with employees, they cannot rely on nonverbal cues or conversations around the watercooler to contextualize expectations. Goals should be given as clearly and as unambiguously as possible.

4.) Offer actionable feedback
Feedback that is impossible to follow can lead employees to feel that they are being set up to fail. A remote work situation may only serve to heighten this feeling. Try to make feedback realistic as possible within the context of a remote work situation.

5.) Train managers on handling remote employees
Employees are more likely to be engaged if their managers know how to handle them. Help managers who are new to handling remote employees to transition to the New Normal by offering training and guidance.

6.) Be more sensitive to the signs of burnout
Cynicism, irritability, frequent illness, depression, and a drop in performance can all be signs of employee burnout. They can be harder to detect in remote employees, which means that managers should be extra vigilant.

7.) Touch base regularly
While daily meetings may not be necessary, touching base at least once a week can serve not only to keep everyone’s eyes on the prize but also to make everyone understand that they are part of a team. They can also help managers find out which employees are currently having issues with their remote arrangement.

8.) Make it a point to do virtual face-to-face meetings occasionally
While not everyone enjoys them, video calls through apps such as Skype and Zoom are, perhaps, the closest thing we have to face-to-face interactions. This can make them extremely valuable for maintaining a sense of closeness within virtual teams.

 9.) Use technology to accurately gauge employee sentiments
You can use regular Google Docs surveys or specialized apps such as eNPS to get an accurate idea of how employees are feeling. These can be especially helpful for managers handling large virtual teams, as they can allow them to effectively focus their efforts on employees who need the most attention.

10.) Have virtual socializing sessions
If there’s enough downtime, virtual sessions near the end of the working day can be a great way to let off steam and help workmates get reacquainted. It’s a great reason to have a few drinks and pulutan right in your very home. Make sure to not spill anything on your computer, though.

Conclusion
While work from home arrangements might make employee engagement a little more difficult, we have the know-how and the technology to make it just a little bit easier. Be sure to check out this previous post on employee motivation and why it matters.

 How do you keep your remote team engaged? What were your experiences with employee engagement during the quarantine? Please tell us all about your experiences below. We’d love to hear from you!

Learn about the latest Philippines hiring and retention strategies, and find the best people for your team. Start here!

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