In this day and age of technology, working from home has become more common than ever. But many virtual employees feel disconnected from their organization. Not only is the distance between them and their workplace a factor, but other employees may not even consider them a part of the organization because they are not around.
Out of sight, out of mind is something that happens far too frequently when it comes to virtual employees. The question you might then ask is, how to engage employees who work from home? Since virtual employees are not physically around, engaging and connecting with them might seem like an insurmountable task.
As managers and associates, we have to take a different approach to engage employees who work from home. Here are 5 things that you as an employer can do to fix that. All you need is diligence, and of course, the drive to engage your employees, office-bound or virtual!
1. Interact Frequently
Engaging remote employees means that at times, you are going to have to work doubly hard to keep them engaged. Always keep the channels of communication open and interact with them frequently. You cannot just give them a job brief and then disappear. Even if they are not here physically, they have a right to know about what’s happening in the organization. And of course, you cannot only remember them when there is a job to be done. Just like you would ask an office-bound employee about their weekend, their family, their wellbeing, etc, the same goes for a virtual employee. It’s only the mode of communication that differs.
2. Schedule Face-to-Face Often
Though working from home and interacting virtually has its own benefits, it is a known fact that there is no substitute for personally meeting someone. Make your virtual employees feel more connected by scheduling face-to-face meetings as often as the employee can make it. Bring all your remote employees together at least once a month and encourage team bonding. This way, not only does their existence feel validated but your other employees know of their existence.
3. Ensure Both Sides Provide Post Meeting Recaps
After you interact with your virtual employee, make sure that the important aspects of the meeting are summarized into a document and sent to the employee. Also, have them send you a short recap of the meeting as well. The reason behind these recaps is simple. Having virtual employees means that if you want to clarify something or they want to clarify something, it is not as if you can walk up to their cubicle or they can walk into your room. These recaps will help clear any doubts or questions either of you might have. This also keeps the lines of communication open.
4. Encourage Team Collaboration
Encourage your virtual employees to build relationships with their team members through online collaboration. You also need to encourage your office-bound employees to do the same. Collaboration is a two-way process. Have your employees use collaborative technologies like the Engagedly platform to communicate and collaborate with each other.
5. Send Physical Reminders
All employees need to feel valued. If they do not feel valued, then they are going to do their best. This goes for virtual employees too. One way to value your employees and their contributions is to send them physical reminders such as cards, gift coupons, etc. Gestures such as these are tangible and will make your employees feel like they are a valued part of the organization, no matter how remote they are.
How important do you think it is to engage employees who work from home? And how do you go about doing so?
How can Engagedly help with engaging your remote workforce?