Working from home has become the new normal for millions of people, and many remote workers have no desire to go back to the bad old days of long commutes. Business owners may have a slightly different perspective. The problem that remote working presents for management is checking how engaged a remote worker is. Remote working doesn’t mean that productivity will necessarily drop, but it can – so let’s consider things that you can do to maintain productivity and staff engagement.
Engagement and Productivity
Studies show that most people working remotely actually work better and faster when they’re in their own environment at home. This is despite the fact that some remote workers may have more to distract them when they’re at home than when they’re in the office. However, they may seem to be a bit less productive, even when they’re meeting deadlines and key performance indicators.
So which one is it? To maximize productivity, workers need to be kept engaged. This will mean that they are motivated not only to deliver the results they were hired for, but to go further. Here are three tips to promote employee engagement.
Company Culture is Still Important
Company culture doesn’t go away when people are working from home. You may no longer have the free coffee and donuts, but the way a company treats its staff still matters. Building team solidarity and a sense of belonging when people are working in different locations can be challenging, but it just means that fostering engagement has to receive more attention. When staff have shared goals and interests they communicate better and achieve more.
Technology makes it easy to have fun and bring people together, so you can carry on building your company culture. You can use your collaboration tool or instant messaging to bring people together. An online space where people can get together for some fun and bonding will help create engagement within teams and with the company. An informal online meeting or happy hour at the end of the week will help people to ‘meet’ members of the team that they interact with less often. It’s all about making remote working feel as normal as possible.
Provide Staff with the Tools They Need
Remote working would be more or less impossible without the technology that you provide for your staff. It follows that having a good platform for remote working will assist with both collaboration and engagement. Close working conditions are easy to create and a variety of technologies are available. Instant messaging is one, but collaboration software and video conferencing are also very useful tools. One way to encourage good communication and collaboration is to make it easier for people to get in touch with each other.
Feedback and Support Matter
Some people flourish working at home. Some find it more difficult. There can be new pressures on staff working from home and some people are happier in the traditional office environment, instead of being on their own at home, feeling isolated. Managers need to be sensitive to the needs of staff and how they’re coping outside of the office setting. Neglecting this will almost inevitably have an impact on employees’ productivity and their motivation to produce their best work. All employees need to feel that they’re valued, and that they’re more than a number in the system.
Intermittent communication with remote workers isn’t good enough. Make sure communication is regular and that you’re available for staff if and when they need to speak with you. Keep the channels open, ensure people get constructive feedback and are clear about their goals. It all goes towards creating trust, which in turn helps engagement and productivity.
Employing staff who work remotely presents new problems for businesses and managers. It’s important to recognize that it’s not the same as office-working. Our consultants can assist you with the technology needed to keep staff engaged, productive and content. Call Quikteks today at (973) 882-4644 for help and information.