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Remote Employees: 5 Ways to Connect & Engage
Remote Employees: 5 Ways to Connect & Engage
Managing remote employees efficiently is a challenge even without a pandemic on our hands. Now that leaders around the world are forced to send their employees home, some of them are finding employee management to be an insurmountable challenge. This is why it’s important that you integrate the right tools and practices that will help you and your company thrive during these trying times. As their leader, you are tasked with keeping the company culture alive, nurturing team cohesion and trust, ensuring seamless communication and collaboration, and more.
That said, it’s also important to remember that you need to focus on promoting employee wellbeing as well, in order to help your team members stay productive and happy during their time in lockdown. To that end, let’s delve deep into the best tactics for engaging and connecting with your remote employees to maintain productivity, happiness, and team cohesion.
Take a personalized approach to employee management
Now that you’re no longer working under the same roof and that you’re unable to have a decent one-on-one with your employees, you need to adopt a more personalized approach to employee management. If you were a caring leader before, now is the time to double your efforts and show your remote employees just how much you respect, value, and cherish them. Keep in mind that they might be feeling insecure or worried about their job during these trying times, so talking to them one-on-one via video chats regularly is paramount.
While you should conduct regular team meetings, you pencil in those private video calls to talk to the individual, address their needs, and simply talk about what’s going on with them. Make sure to devote enough time to each employee and don’t make them feel like you’re trying to rush the meeting. Prepare your talking points and questions in advance and strive to make the employee feel like you truly know them – write down their pet’s and kids’ names, their hobbies and interests, and the like.
Work on preserving your company culture
When employees are no longer working at the same office, one of the first things that can start deteriorating is your company culture. It might still be in effect, but the fact that there is no one to keep it alive through inter-personal interaction and socialization in a localized workspace is enough to make it fade away over time. Of course, you can’t let this happen if your goal is to maintain the bonds your employees have built with each other, and to elevate productivity.
Maintaining a great company culture with remote employees is a challenge, though, so you need to know what you’re doing. Start by improving your leadership style and being there for your remote employees at all times. Communicate regularly and make yourself available. Lastly, focus on teamwork and collaboration even on the simplest projects.
Don’t let technology ruin your meetings
You might have been able to work around a bad internet connection or a poor video conferencing tool when everyone was working under the same roof, but now that you’re literally dependent on communication technology, you can’t take the risk. A bad connection or a poor-quality video call can ruin the entire meeting, the employees’ experience, and set your projects back, so it’s important to invest in communication tech like VoIP.
Voice over internet protocol often seems like a new phone system, but it’s so much more than that. It enables remote teams through various digital features like mobile optimization, video and audio conferencing tools, collaboration tools, call forwarding and scheduling, and the like. When you have all these features at your disposal, you’re able to transition between them seamlessly, but most importantly, you’re able to communicate with your teams nationally and internationally without breaking the bank.
Help your employees unwind
Managers and leaders often connect with their remote employees only to talk shop, and while work talk should be the main focus of your calls, it shouldn’t be the only one. Instead, you want to be the leader every employee needs and actually inspire them to stop working when they’ve had enough. That’s right, there’s only so much a person can do when stuck at home, and sometimes they’ll go on relentlessly without taking a break until the late hours in the evening.
You need to remind your remote employees that productivity comes in waves and that they need to take care of their mental and physical health. To that end, makes sure to tell them to switch off and unwind for a short time during the day, and remind them to completely forget about work at the end of their shift. This will not only help them retain a healthy work-life balance, but it will also help you earn their trust and respect. And don’t worry, they’ll meet their deadlines, in fact, they will even become more productive than before.
Organize online team-building events
Lastly, you can organize online team-building events in order to keep the spirits high and nurture the bonds between your remote employees. Online team-building might even be more appealing to your employees as they won’t have to leave the house and get all dressed up, as you can organize game nights, movie marathons they can join at any point, social drinking from home, and many more engaging events. It’s a great way to unwind while socializing with your colleagues so be sure to give it a try.
Managing remote employees without losing productivity is a difficult task, but not if you know how to approach the unique challenges of remote work. Use these tactics to nurture your company culture, run efficient meetings, keep the team’s spirits high, and thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Author Bio: Elaine Bennett is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping startups and small businesses grow. She's the Editor-in-Chief and a regular contributor for Bizzmark Blog and writes hands-on articles about business and marketing.