In a time where remote work is no longer an option, but a necessity, many businesses are wondering how to keep remote employees engaged on a daily basis. While there are a lot of benefits that come with working from home, there are also new distractions with working outside of the office. It can be hard to stay focused when teammates aren’t working alongside one another every day.
So how do managers trust their employees to self-manage in this new age, while also encouraging them to stay engaged and productive with their time? We did some research ourselves to help you set up a system that works for you.
Define Goals As a Team
Goal setting is important for any business, no matter what your work environment looks like. However, having clear, defined goals is even more crucial when team members are spread out in different locations. It’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page, so they can be most productive with their time. Your team will feel more engaged if they are a part of the goal setting process! Brainstorm together first over video chat. Set some larger goals that everyone can look back on and reference. Then have your team split up and set individual goals that they can take ownership of. If you need help setting realistic goals you will stick to, check out this article by our partner, Office Heroes League.
Use a project management platform
You may have used project management tools in the past, but now these things will be your lifeline to stay connected and informed on project updates. A platform like Trello or Basecamp can make all the difference when it comes to managing remote workers. When used correctly, these tools should allow everyone to communicate easily about the projects your team is working on. Create project folders and tasks for everything and make sure everyone knows what they are responsible for. This will keep everyone on task and make sure no one is left out of the loop.
Check in Regularly
This one may seem pretty obvious, but it’s true! Checking in on your employees when you aren’t in the office is harder, but it is key when it comes to keeping them engaged. You will have to be more intentional about scheduling time to engage and communicate with each other. If you don’t already, try using a messaging platform like Slack to create different channels and streamline chatting with your team. You should also schedule regular check-ins over a video conference platform, like Zoom. Don’t underestimate the importance of connecting with your team face-to-face. This will engage a connection that not only helps your team to feel comfortable communicating with you, but also maintains a sense of normalcy they may be lacking right now.
Communicate Expectations Clearly
Like we said, it can be difficult to communicate effectively when you aren’t working alongside your teammates every day. That is why it’s so crucial to be as clear as possible and check in often if you can. In her book, Dare to Lead, Dr. Brene Brown reminds us that, “Clear is kind.” The best thing you can do for your remote employees is communicate your expectations clearly and communicate often. This does not mean you need to micromanage your team, but no one likes to be left in the dark. Keep an open line of communication between yourself and your employees so that if and when questions arise, everyone feels comfortable and safe reaching out.
Encourage Continued Education
There are lots of perks to working remotely and you should encourage your employees to take advantage of these opportunities! Naturally, your team will have more free time now that they aren’t commuting to and from work every day. Encourage them to use this time to learn new skills or research things they want to implement at work! You can make this a fun exercise by having your team share what they are learning and working towards in their free time. Allowing them to pursue and share their interests will keep their minds active and engaged, and should get them excited about projects they are a part of!
Reward Your Team for Good Work
Rewarding your team is a great way to remind them that you value and appreciate the work they are doing, even when you aren’t all in the office together! There are lots of ways to engage and connect with your team in fun ways. You can plan a Zoom happy hour to celebrate the end of a long week or have a virtual game night with Jackbox Games. Celebrate your team members’ birthdays by sending out a card or a sweet treat! You can also order meal delivery for your team members as a thank you for completing an important project or just to let them know you appreciate them. Whatever you do, your team will appreciate the effort and the acknowledgement of a job well done!
We hope these tips help you get started as you navigate the new normal and continue to develop your work from home strategies. Figure out what works best for you and your team and keep in mind that workplace culture matters, even when your workplace is in your home! Your employees will always appreciate opportunities to engage and connect as a team.
Getting ready to return to the office? Wondering how to plan lunch for your team post-COVID? Talk to one of our catering specialists about our new options!