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  • Writer's pictureAurora Garcia

7 Unique and Effective Ways to Boost Remote Employee Engagement

Team video meeting

Remote work has been dubbed the “new normal” in recent years. However, most companies are still figuring out how to make this new model effective and motivating.

If your company has switched to hybrid work, there’s a lot to consider.

Attracting top talent requires a remote option. But how do you retain talent in a work environment that can quickly become isolating?

In this guide, we’ll discuss the true meaning of remote and hybrid work, explore its benefits and challenges. Plus, we’ll uncover seven remote employee engagement ideas to keep your team engaged while working from home.

What Qualifies as Remote Work?

Employees working in different locations outside a traditional office setting

New and advanced technologies have permanently changed corporate culture, making remote work commonplace. This, in turn, has opened up a new door with plenty of opportunities, and also challenges.

Simply defined, remote work is labor that employees complete outside of the office, using communication technologies that support flexible workplace practices.

Plenty of Benefits

The model of remote or hybrid (semi-remote) work has been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic – and by the looks of it, it will only continue to grow. It’s been called the new normal, accepted by the corporate world at large, which is no surprise considering the cost-cutting benefits that come with it.

But it’s not all about the money (although, it all plays a part in it). Remote workers are overall a more productive, happier, and engaged breed than their in-house counterparts. No more traffic jams and sardine-packed subway commutes!

Organizations that offer a flexible work model also tend to attract top talent. And top talent is just what companies need to have a competitive workforce.

In this new era of remote work, the entire world has become the HR department’s oyster – free to pick and choose from a near-infinite talent pool, no matter where in the world that talent may be.

Obstacles to Overcome

Now that we’ve established the positive side of remote work, we ought to take a closer look at the challenges. By understanding the hurdles, we can build strategies to overcome them, creating a robust and supportive virtual workspace.

One of the biggest problems with remote work is maintaining a solid system of communication and collaboration among employees who are geographically dispersed. If the system is dysfunctional, it can hurt all the other components within the hybrid structure.

Performance and Remote Work: Finding the Sweet Spot

 Working in a comfortable home office

Even though the pandemic has had an accelerating effect on remote work, we still don’t know a lot about the factors that influence its effectiveness.

What we do know, however, is that employee engagement for remote workers is crucial for the model to be productive.

In order to ensure a seamless transition to this “new normal”, companies must provide support to employees engaged in remote work. If this is done well, 25% of the workforce could work remotely with no significant decline in productivity.

To learn more about how to build an effective employee support strategy through incentive programs, check out our guide here.

Maximizing Remote Work Productivity

In general terms, remote work heightens a company’s productivity levels. It sounds like a contradiction to many, but without the usual distractions of a physical office, your employees can afford to concentrate 100 percent on their jobs. Of course, this only works with self-discipline on the employee’s part.

Additionally, the chance to shape our very own workspace using the colors, furniture, light, and square feet that suit our preferences, well, that is certainly a powerful booster!

Employee Engagement Ideas for Remote Workers

A Zoom meeting

Managing a remote workforce isn’t easy. You need a system that ensures your team is successful. But you also need a strategy that keeps your remote workers engaged and inspired.

According to the Harvard Business Review, 62% of employees consider that working remotely has a positive effect on engagement, but only 5% will stay at their company long-term.

This means that engagement long-term tends to dwindle over time.

There are lots of ways to keep remote workers engaged. Most of them will require a creative mindset – and proactive employers stepping up their efforts.

Below is a list of seven employee engagement ideas for remote workers designed to keep your employees happy in a virtual workplace.

1. Connection is Key

In a recent study, 17% of remote workers reported having difficulties in areas of communication and collaboration. Remote employees miss out on in-person conversations, casual brainstorming sessions, and spontaneous water cooler discussions.

By putting in place solid communication channels, you can keep your remote employees on the same page as your in-house workforce – make them feel part of the team!

There’s an array of tools out there that make streamlining online communication a lot easier. Face-to-face time through video calls is a great way to keep in touch beyond email and chat. Schedule staff meetings on a regular basis and make sure the attendees are a mix of in-house staff and remote employees.

2. Social Interaction

Social Interaction

A study made by Gallup shows that having friends at work has a direct positive effect on productivity, well-being, and engagement. Cultivating a space for significant social interaction can be difficult in a remote work environment – but it’s still doable.

Here are some fun ideas for virtual social hours:

  • Create a virtual water cooler hangout

  • Schedule weekly small-talk sessions in the Zoom lounge

  • Host virtual after-hours events

  • Organize web game events

  • Have online coffee breaks

  • Arrange remote team-building activities

3. Employee Recognition

Remote employees tend to work more hours than in-office staff – yet, they often don’t feel their achievements are equally acknowledged.

Recognition makes employees feel connected and valued. And that leads to a higher level of engagement.

Make your employee recognition strategy a priority. One way to adapt the model to remote work is to create an online platform that gives every worker a chance to offer recognition to their peers. Why? Because, according to research, employee recognition is a great driver for employee engagement.

4. Out-of-Home Office Activities

A healthy work-life balance is perhaps even more important when you’re working from home. Unplugging can be an issue for hybrid workers who often find it hard to separate between their personal and professional life. In some cases, this can become stressful and disengaging in the long-term.

The 2022 State of Remote Work survey demonstrates that 25% of remote workers find it hard to unplug from work. 24% of participants in the survey reported they felt lonely. Out-of-home office activities are a great way to reconnect and build meaningful relationships. They also help when dealing with stress and emotional health issues.

A way to show your employees that their health is your concern is with a subscription or a gift card that promotes a healthy work-life balance. Gift cards can be used for a wide range of activities, such as:

  • Fun cooking classes

  • Movie theater tickets

  • Concert tickets

  • A fitness club membership

  • Museum passes

5. Have a Monthly Wellness Challenge

Another cool idea to strengthen remote employee engagement while sending a healthy message is to host monthly wellness challenges. 

Take advantage of the 10,000 steps challenge to get your at-home workers moving. Or maybe launch a healthy diet challenge where everyone can join in on their own terms!

6. Flexibility, Transparency, and Trust

The number one advantage of hybrid or remote work is flexibility. That said, most remote workers still want the structure that a schedule provides.

Trust your workers to build their own schedule, and collaboratively plan one-on-one meetings and video conferences. Set clear expectations – for instance, specify when you want your employees to be available, and how you will evaluate their performance.

7. Regular Feedback and Check-Ins

This is a big one! In recent years, more and more companies have started to focus on developing engagement strategies to keep employees invested and happy. 

However, these strategies often fail to include remote workers. And to keep a digital team engaged, you need their valuable input.

Use remote employee feedback to measure the effectiveness of your internal communications strategy. Identify areas for improvement with the help of surveys and online group chats. 

To motivate your employees working from home, send out regular celebratory emails that highlight their efforts and wins!

A Prosperous Culture of Remote Work

a team working together with the help of modern online tools

The era of remote work is upon us, presenting both benefits and challenges. Tackling this transformative change in the workplace and figuring out how best to approach it isn’t easy. Consider these remote employee engagement ideas as a starting point to steer the future in a positive direction.

With the right kind of strategy, you can tap into the vast potential that a remote workplace offers.

The key is to understand the new language of remote communication and adapt company policies to avoid social isolation. Remember, a strong internal communications strategy is the anchor of an effective engagement strategy.

Start building your workforce for the future!


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