The 5 Best Ways to Boost Team Engagement in Remote Work Environments
With employees having experienced the benefits of a remote work lifestyle during the mandated work-from-home period such as greater flexibility, less commuting time and a healthier work-life balance, ‘The Great Resignation’ is a very real prospect for companies refusing to move from the traditional in-office culture.
Over the past couple of years, the working environment has been turned on its head.
According to data scientists at Ladders, 25% of all professional jobs across North America will be remote by 2023, and the UK tops this figure, with 38% of the working population already working from home permanently.
As this new phenomenon takes over from the traditional in-office work culture, how can we create a virtual environment that encourages the same rapport and engagement as a physical one?
Effective & frequent communication
Investing in communication software is critical. It's important to ensure that you can reach-out and get a hold of any team members or employees that you need to speak with for your client work, or daily operations, in a quick and efficient manner.
Platforms with messaging features and push notifications, such as Slack, work perfectly to connect remote employees and encourage communication on all things - whether it be social topics or work-related.
Similarly, hosting regular video call sessions using platforms like Teams or Zoom are invaluable for providing that daily face-to-face time that helps your team to build familiarity and rapport.
Addressing time zones
With team members across various continents, a glaring issue could be the time difference. However, there are ways to be considerate and incorporate this into your remote work strategy.
Encouraging your workers to use flexible hours, and sharing schedules, is a great way to find a time slot that works for both parties. With this in place, you can organize a regular check-in and provide any support, advice or briefing that might be required during that time.
Sharing schedules is also a fantastic way to allow your employees and colleagues to set boundaries for their work-life balance, having an online/offline messaging system is one example of how you can maintain this.
Ignite their competitive spirit by introducing features on your work platform such as weekly trivia, or work-related tournaments that encourage cross-department groups to work together.
Friendly competitions are an effective way to build new work relationships as cross-department team members join together towards a friendly common goal; creating a sense of fun in your work environment is a powerful tool for productivity.
Here are some ideas presented by Snacknation if you need more inspiration on how to cultivate a fun yet productive remote environment.
Find a way to celebrate your employees and co-workers when they achieve success, either individually or as part of the team. Using a feel-good recognition system is one of the biggest hacks for remote employee engagement. By appreciating hard-work and praising your team when they go above and beyond or show significant intuition, you are effectively ensuring that this positive cycle of hard-work and value-adding continues.
Platforms such as Bonusly are superb for giving away points and enabling colleagues to cash these in for real-world prizes after a certain amount of points have been collected.
Furthermore, operating on a policy of transparency to share your company’s successes with the people responsible creates an important recognition culture, one that provides your remote workers with a sense of purpose and belonging that will inspire loyalty as well as engagement.
Organize non-work related meetups or events
Encourage your team members to socialize virtually using randomized meet-up apps such as donut, the element of randomization is perfect for building connections with colleagues outside your department’s inner circle. Organizing weekly virtual meetings with themes like pub quizzes or film discussions is another great way to kickstart casual conversation and keep it flowing.
Getting to know each other on a more personal level helps to build that much-needed sense of rapport and community that remote workers can often feel disconnected from. If at all possible, in-person meetups after months (or years) of socializing in front of a camera would provide an exciting reunion experience for all involved, especially if there’s fine dining or games on the agenda. Essentially, the goal is to recreate the office party/social environment without a physical office, and without the awkward Michael Scott connotations.
Does the remote working lifestyle take your fancy?
Having more than 30 colleagues in over 10 different countries, we believe in flexible working at Leadable and take pride in our team engagement. Although we are distributed across various parts of the world, our communication remains paramount as we share a sense of virtual community. We prioritise a work-life balance and go the extra mile to connect with one another at both personal and professional levels.
Take a look at our careers page here, if this sounds like a bit of you.