Engaging Remote Workers in 2018: What’s New
Engaging Remote Workers Is Increasingly Necessary
Thanks largely to technology, more and more people — full-time employees, part-timers, and freelancers — are working remotely more and more often. One estimate from 2018 says that 3.9 million Americans now work from home at least half the week, or almost 3 percent of the country’s workforce. That’s great news for many employers and employees — remote working arrangements offer flexibility that can mean a lot to your team, as we’ve noted before. But engaging remote workers also takes some extra thought and effort. As HR Dive noted last year:
Remote workers need to be kept in the loop. Although working from home or some other location might offer work-life balance, remote workers can feel isolated from the office hub of activities, events and information-sharing. More importantly, remote workers can miss out on critical announcements concerning their employment, including their benefits.
Crucial Steps for Engaging Remote Workers
Arlene S. Hirsch, writing for the Society for Human Resource Management, delves into important considerations when your business is employing remote workers.
Remote work isn’t for everyone. Not everybody thrives outside of the office. Distractions are plentiful, and for some people, remote work provides an excuse to slack off. A good remote worker is going to be self-starter who can motivate themselves and doesn’t require heavy supervision. Remote workers also need to be comfortable with technology — email, IMs, videoconferencing, and programs like Dropbox are by and large how they’ll stay connected to their peers in the office.
Remote workers also have to be capable communicators, since their words and voices will be standing in for their physical presence.
Proactively communicate and foster relationships between remote and on-site workers. This should start with the onboarding process — there’s value in bringing in a new hire for a tour of your facilities, even if they’ll be working remotely thereafter. You might also consider offering a virtual tour of your space, using videoconferencing technology.
Kevin Eikenberry, co-founder of the Remote Leadership Institute, told SHRM he “asks new virtual team members to initiate 15- to 30-minute get-to-know-you phone conversations with each existing team member (who has been notified to expect that call). The calls foster collaboration and take some of the pressure off the manager to be the primary contact person.”
Regular conversations, via phone and video and IM, can ensure remote workers feel connected to their counterparts in the office. Make sure that when a new on-site employee starts, they are introduced to remote members of the team too. And be conscientious about noting vital information mentioned at on-site meetings when remote workers can’t attend — pass it along to them via email. They won’t have the opportunity to pick it up in the break room, after all.
Set clear goals for remote employees. Clarity is essential to engaging remote workers effectively, because they’re often not privy to a lot of peripheral information that provides context for employees on-site. Miscommunication is also just easier when your contact with a worker is only via text or voice. Make sure your remote workers’ responsibilities are clearly defined, and set “SMART goals” for them — goals with objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely — to increase the odds that you’re all on the same page.
Treat workers equally, wherever they are. Finally, keep in mind that on-site employees are not automatically “better” than remote employees, just because they share space with you. Engaging remote workers means not forgetting them for opportunities or advancement, and finding other ways to reward them when they can’t celebrate success at an office party or award ceremony. As one expert told SHRM: “Everyone needs to have the same opportunities. We want to recognize and reward everyone equally.”
(If you’re skeptical of how well a remote employee can actually perform, listen to this podcast about Kristen Wylie, who did her full-time job through eight months of touring with her daughters, who were in a national traveling production of Annie. She wasn’t just phoning it in, either — she got a promotion.)
One Great Option for Rewarding and Engaging Remote Workers
It’s gThankYou Certificates of Gratitude, of course! Not only are they available for a variety of foods — including turkey, ham, pizza, ice cream, and other groceries — they can also be used at major grocery stores across America. Plus, all of our Certificates come with free Enclosure Cards that let you include a customized message of thanks. gThankYou Certificates of Gratitude are easy to buy in bulk and easy to send to your remote employees, wherever they are.
Be Inspired by Employee Engagement Experts
When it comes to employee engagement, it’s important to stay inspired, connected with your team and find sources for fresh ways to engage and appreciate your team – regardless where they work. We can help! Learn from thought-leaders interested in building great workplace cultures. Download our free eBook, “The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should Be Reading” and find new sources to help you stay inspired and current.
About gThankYou, LLC
Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any grocery store in the U.S.
gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.
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