Career Woman

How to keep remote employees engaged

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Is your team switching to a remote workforce? Remote work is a dream come true for many employees, but for business owners and managers, it can seem messy and complicated.

Are your employees going to be productive? How will you maintain your culture? Will technology problems get in the way of your work?

The good news is that remote work, when executed thoughtfully by trusting managers, works. When you switch to a remote team, you’ll enjoy benefits like:

  • A boost in productivity.
  • Better employee morale and job satisfaction.
  • Lower operating costs.

Your business needs to stay competitive and modern. Get hip with the times and embrace your remote team, even if you’re new to remote management.

3 Tips to engage remote employees

Nervous about remote work? Don’t worry, boss. Follow these 3 tips to keep your employees engaged and on-task while they work from the comfort of their couch.

1.   Use the right tech stack

Remote work isn’t possible without technology. You need the right stack of technology, apps, and hardware to make this possible.

That means you might have to quickly pivot to new technology. For example, do all of your employees have company-issued laptops? If not, it’s time to invest in that. Or, if laptops are too much of an expense, consider offering employees a stipend to use their personal laptops, wifi, and phones for work.

Do you need to set up a private server for your work? Or an iCloud where employees can access their desktop files while they’re working remotely? Work with your managers and IT folks to choose the right setup.

After creating the infrastructure for remote work, you’ll need to choose your technology stack. Everyone has their preferences, but you’ll need to choose the right technology for:

  • Email
  • Chat
  • Video calls
  • File storage
  • Time tracking
  • Project management
  • Password management

To take this a step further, write a quick “how to work remotely” guide for your employees. This guide should set clear expectations for what technology they need to use, and when. For example, make it crystal-clear when people need to send an email versus a chat. The clearer you can be, the better.

2.   Create a sense of structure

Business owners (and employees) sometimes dread remote work because it feels too unstructured. Without a manager hovering over your employees, they might feel anxious or directionless. Plus, a lack of structure tends to make managers feel less-trusting of their team.

Give both yourself and your employees peace of mind by creating a structure for your remote team.

That means:

  • Assigning everyone’s workload through project management software.
  • Scheduling a weekly standing meeting. Have an “all hands on deck” meeting once a week, as well as individual check-ins with your team.
  • Opting for video calls as your primary communication whenever possible. This mimics in-person interaction and helps you retain a sense of company culture.
  • Assigning KPIs, action items, and goals for each team member. This helps your team know that they’re supported and accountable in a remote environment.

Structure helps everyone retain a sense of normalcy when you’re switching over to remote work. Accountability and connection will keep your team engaged with the work, even while they’re working from their dining room table.

3.   Be human

While some people thrive in remote work, it can be hard for many employees. Be flexible and understanding with your team during this time. They may need time to figure out childcare, where to put their home office, and how to keep pets off-camera during meetings.

You’ll likely have to make some adjustments to your tech stack or procedures, too. Remote work is all about being flexible, so be sure to go with the flow and tweak procedures to fit your team’s needs.

Being human also means intentionally creating opportunities for socialization. As a remote workplace, you don’t have the luxury of bumping into your employees in the breakroom. You have to facilitate these connections if you want engaged, happy employees.

Try boosting interaction by:

  • Chatting with your employees about their home life.
  • Creating smaller teams, mentorship programs, and regular check-ins to combat feelings of isolation.
  • Giving employees consistent, positive feedback.
  • Celebrating employee successes at an all-hands meeting every week.
  • Setting up a “watercooler” video chat line that employees can join to have casual conversations. This is a great solution for extroverted employees who crave constant interaction. Of course, make this optional; nobody wants to be constantly monitored.

Remote work can make your business feel less human, so be intentional about fostering relationships in a digital environment.

The bottom line

Remote work has the potential to boost employee satisfaction, increase your profits, and significantly slash expenses. But if your company is new to remote work, it can feel like an uncertain time with a big learning curve. Follow these 3 tips to create a healthy remote culture from the start, keeping your employees happy, productive, and engaged no matter where they are.

About Nikki Carlson

Nikki Carlson is Co-Founder/Co-President of ChicBlvd Inc. which founded and owns three divisions -ChicBlvd Magazine (www.chicblvd.com), ChicExecs Brand Strategist Firm and Fashion Audio LLC. She has over 16 years of experience in PR/Marketing. Soon after attaining a degree in Marketing, Nikki landed a job with Russ Reid Company, an advertising agency in Pasadena, CA. She rose through the ranks to an executive position where she managed clients in tv, radio, print, fundraising, website development, branding execution, and event sponsorship. Her main focus: non-profit and Christian companies including World Vision, Columbia House, Veggie Tales. After 5 years at Russ Reid, she served as an executive at Ambassador Advertising Agency managing clients including Compassion International, Breakpoint with Chuck Colson, author and speaker Jim Garlow. Her work included overseeing radio program initiatives from creative concept through execution. In 2004, she ventured out to pioneer ChicBlvd Inc using her creativity, entrepreneur passion and desire to give back by helping other businesses and getting involved in charity work.

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