Maintaining Engagement in a Remote Workforce

Out of necessity, many organizations have shifted their operations to a primarily remote workforce. While some organizations already had experience managing partially remote staff, this quick operational change was jarring to many businesses. Although there are benefits to having a remote workforce, including reduced costs and an increased talent pool, teams have struggled with the quick transition. Organizations may struggle with effectively managing remote workers while keeping them engaged and productive. Here are a few tips for creating and maintaining effective remote teams.

Communication – Without the luxury of face-to-face interaction, staying in tune with remote teams can be tricky. However, the use of communication tools through a shared platform can help alleviate the experienced disconnect. Many organizations may already have access to tools through their cloud-based payroll or HRIS platforms, while others may utilize video meeting software such as Zoom or GoToMeeting. By building a “camera on” culture, managers and teams can create a virtual face-to-face experience to boost engagement, discourage distractions, and build relationships.

IT Support – It can be easy to assume that most employees are “up to speed” with remote work from a technological aspect. However, now more than ever, it’s paramount to ensure employees are familiar and comfortable with operational tools and systems. Use this as an opportunity for IT departments to take a leading role in providing valuable training to staff.

Recognition – In times of quick change and transition, it can be easy to overlook something like recognition. However, employee recognition, as it relates to remote teams, can help increase productivity and retention. While it may be something as simple as recognizing a meeting a goal or an employee’s birthday, acknowledging contributions made by remote individuals or teams can have a significant impact.

Office Hours – Many employees who work from home have their laptops or phones within reach to remain available and connected. While this can be great for productivity, it can also be challenging regarding wage and hour compliance. Although employees can always be connected, pay special attention to the non-exempt employees’ work hours. Managers must ensure that non-exempt employees are taking regular breaks and finishing their workday at an appropriate time; this can be vital in preventing unexpected overtime liabilities.

Remote workforces can be challenging for both experienced and inexperienced organizations. By implementing support systems and processes, leaders can work to reduce these challenges while maximizing productivity and cohesiveness. For more information related to managing a remote workforce, please reach out to Employers Council at 800.884.1328.