Remote working isn’t a new concept. In fact, 30% of employees in the US were already working remotely in some capacity before the pandemic. While executives are encouraging employees to head back to the office, remote and hybrid work still remain the “new normal.”
Embracing remote work or a hybrid model is seen as a positive change by many, but it also presents challenges. One of the greatest challenges is keeping employees engaged. .
As an employer, meeting this challenge head-on is essential. Here are 10 ideas to help you boost and maintain employee engagement in a hybrid workplace.
- Prioritize effective communication
Communication is the foundation of employee engagement,. Equipping yourself with a top-notch communications system is a huge part of maintaining consistent and effective communication between remote, hybrid, and in office employees..
Bring all of your communications into one place with unified communications as a service (UCaaS) providers.Use video conferencing, instant messaging, and file and screen sharing to:
- Keep up your teams up-to-date on company news
- Streamline workflow
- Promote connection and collaboration, no matter where your employees are
Check out alternatives to Zoom that offer integrations with all your existing software and find a provider that fits your company’s needs. .
- Set clear expectations
Flexible work is here to stay, so create a policy that clearly defines what expectations are for remote and hybrid employees.. This policy should include:
- Hours: Do you expect staff to work a set schedule, or will you allow flexibility as long as they meet a minimum amount of hours worked per week or month?
- Communication: How do you want staff to maintain contact? Are there regular staff/team meetings you expect them to attend?
- Support: Is there a clearly defined avenue for support when remote staff encounter issues? You should identify an accessible “chain of command,” so staff know where to go when they need help..
- Promote wellness and mental health
Even prior to the pandemic, unplugging and isolation could be a real issue for remote workers. Workplace wellness programs are a great way to meet your teams where they are and prove their well being matters.
Encourage staff to take regular breaks and organize events like virtual yoga or meditation that promote balance and mental health. You could even offer a wellness stipend staff can use for gym memberships, wellness classes, or mental health resources. Your team is your most valuable asset, make sure they know you’re here to help.
- Maintain company culture
Creating and maintaining company culture is already difficult and hybrid workplaces bring on new challenges. With employees making work happen wherever they are, it’s important to emphasize what your company stands for.
It isn’t enough to have the CEO lecture on company values, you need to make sure your values and beliefs are prevalent in every part of your company. Offer workplace perks that align with your company’s culture, and plan interactive events that correlate with your mission and goal.
Teams are looking for a shared purpose to motivate them and drive their work forward. Make sure that purpose is clear from day one.
- Provide opportunities for staff to socialize
Socializing plays a major role in office-based culture; regular coffee breaks, stopping by a colleague’s desk for a chat, even going out for lunch together. While in person check-ins may be more difficult, you can implement regular virtual chats that don’t need to focus on work-related issues (though they can if participants wish).
- Focus on employee development
Just because your employees are remote doesn’t mean career development should be abandoned. Schedule intentional one on ones with managers, integrate online courses, and plan professional development opportunities for staff to participate in.
Make sure you’re listening to your teams and offering opportunities they’re interested in. Helping your employees grow and learn, will help your business succeed.
- Reward and recognize hard work
Recognize when a team member has performed exceptionally well. Continue with any existing reward and recognition programs already in place and even implement new ones to recognize the challenges of working remotely.
Don’t miss an opportunity to thank your teams or applaud them at a virtual meeting. Let them know that you see them, you recognize them, and you appreciate them.
- Keep listening
It may be easy to sit in your office (or home office) and assume that your remote employees are all executing their tasks as they should and feeling great about these. But the only way to know is to listen to them. There are various ways you can find out their opinions and feelings:
- Meetings. Set aside part of your regular meetings for a team talk where staff can express how they’re feeling or what issues they’re encountering.
- Surveys. The beauty of surveys is that you can make them anonymous. That means staff may feel confident to say things they may be reluctant to disclose in an open meeting.
- Emails. You can utilize these for your remote workers as a form of virtual suggestion box so that they can mail in ideas. Make sure to provide email examples so employees don’t feel put on the spot.
- Set aside time for relaxation
All work and no play make for a bored and dissatisfied remote workforce! A good work-life balance is one of the main benefits of hybrid work. Yet remote workers actually work, on average, 16.8 more days per year than office-based staff.
As part of your remote working model, you should encourage your staff to relax and have more downtime. Set boundaries, and make sure when they sign off they are done for the day.By encouraging them to give great focus to the life part of work-life balance, you can reduce negative factors such as stress and isolation.
Engaged Staff Means a More Productive Workforce
Setting workplace standards is a must as we move forward. Employee satisfaction may take more effort to achieve in the remote working environment, but doing so will reap significant rewards for management and staff.