The level of remote employee engagement is something managers should consider often. Among those who work remotely full-time, average engagement levels sit at a mere 30 percent.
Does this seem to be the case for your employees? Are you having a hard time figuring out how to keep your remote team engaged and focused?
If you said “yes” to either of those questions, keep reading. We’re breaking down some of our top tips for supporting your team, reducing overload, and helping them to maximize their engagement and productivity.
Keep everyone in the loop
Engaging remote workers can be a difficult feat, but a good starting point is to make sure everyone stays in the loop.
Virtual team communication should flow easily across the company. Start by thinking of ways that communication in virtual teams contrasts with face-to-face communication. Do your best to ensure you have some best practices in place and keep everyone informed about how different projects are progressing, as well as how the company’s doing as a whole.
The more people know, the easier it is for them to stay engaged and motivated. They’re also less likely to be hit with surprise assignments or deadlines (and the anxiety that comes with them).
Use automated status reports
You may want to consider using automated status reports to help your team members stay in touch with you, too. Not only do these status reports free your team members up to focus on other things, but they also help you to do your job more efficiently.
A recent case study from Weekdone revealed that automated status reports could save managers up to 4 hours per week. This is especially helpful for those who are managing team members in various locations and time zones – working asynchronously.
Make information easily accessible
Don’t make team members waste their valuable time digging around for information they need to do their jobs.
Create and utilize a centralized hub for resources your employees might need. That way, when they’re working on a project and need to check on something or find specific instructions, they know where to go.
This improves employee engagement because they don’t have to spend time and energy reaching out to different colleagues or trying to track information. It also makes it easier for them to stay focused and avoid frustration.
Bonus read: Our post about secure file sharing between remote teams provides some tips on keeping this accessible information protected!
Encourage causal communication
A part of your remote employee engagement success is to cut your employees some slack. Don't expect them to be “on” at all times. It’s okay for them to engage in some casual “water cooler” conversation together on occasion. In fact, it might be better for their productivity and stress levels.
According to a report published by Harvard Business Review, this kind of small talk offers the following benefits:
- Puts workers at ease
- Helps them transition into serious topics more seamlessly
- Builds rapport among colleagues
- Deepens workers’ sense of trust in each other
- Enhances creativity and innovation
It’s easy to miss out on small talk when everyone is working remotely. Creating a dedicated channel or chat thread for casual conversations can help to overcome this issue and keep your team members engaged, no matter where they are.
Avoid feature overload
Have you and your employees each added a bunch of different apps and programs to your computers since you started working remotely?
It’s great that there are so many tools out there that can promote organization, productivity, and engagement. It is possible to have too much of a good thing, though.
If you’re using too many tools, you and your team may start dealing with “feature overload.” They may feel overwhelmed by all the different technologies at their fingertips. They may also receive too many interruptions during the day, which can impact their ability to focus and be productive.
One way to avoid this is to be sure your team management tool-kit is designed for productivity and team connection. Additionally, this system should offer integration options for seamless linking to your existing systems.
Use the CFR approach
When managing a remote team, use the CFR approach. CFR is short for “Conversation, Recognition, and Feedback.” This format encourages healthy communication between team members and leaders, as well as between team members.
If you’re already using OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) in your weekly planning sessions, the CFR approach is a natural extension that helps you get to the bottom of what’s working and what isn’t for your team members.
An example of CFR in action might look something like this:
- How are you progressing with [insert objective here]?
- What kind of support or capabilities do you need to succeed?
- Are there any blocks that are stopping you from attaining [insert objective here]?
- Do any of your OKRs need to be adjusted in response to shifting priorities?
Including this strategy in your weekly planning makes it easier for you to connect with your team and show them that you care about how they’re doing.
Is it time to upgrade your remote employee engagement strategy?
Did you read the outlined tips above and think of ways to improve your remote team management strategy? That's great! A quality leader always strives to improve.
These tips will help you engage remote workers, increase their productivity, and help them to avoid feeling burnt out.
One of the best tools you can use to implement the above strategies is Weekdone. It can eliminate technology overload by centralizing all of your team management tools, while making it easier than ever for you to stay in touch and provide (or receive) feedback from your team.