How to Keep Remote Workers Engaged in a Virtual Team
Remote work is becoming common practice in many industries. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, more companies than ever before are allowing their employees to work from home to help flatten the curve and protect the vulnerable.
Ways to keep remote employees engaged
Here are some ways to maintain your company culture and make your virtual staff feel like they’re truly part of the team.
1. Encourage health and wellness.
Your workers’ health should be your priority. At the end of the day, if your employees get sick, they won’t be able to perform at their highest level – or at all. Perhaps you can create an incentive for your team to get outside, cook a decent meal, exercise or create some sort of healthy habit.
2. Host virtual meetings and casual hangouts.
Many remote teams maintain regular communication through video calls, instant messaging, email and web conferencing platforms. When the whole team is working, a voice or video conferencing call can go a long way to encourage group collaboration.
At work, there’s always something stressful to discuss, but you don’t want every conversation to feel tense and dreaded. Make time for work outings or casual video calls to keep employees engaged and excited to be part of the team.
3. Make sure employees feel heard and valued.
Your employees deserve to feel appreciated – even from a distance. Since you’re not in the office with them each day to extend a quick thank-you or take them out to lunch for their work anniversary, you should find small ways to celebrate your employees as often as possible.
Additionally, make sure your (virtual) door is always open. Miscommunications are common between remote workers, and the last thing you want is for your employees to feel like they can’t talk to you, ask questions or voice concerns. Make it clear that you are available for one-on-one meetings, and really listen and take action when an employee confides in you.
4. Foster personal connections.
While you want to be professional with your team, keep in mind that your workers are still human. They have loved ones, celebrations and bad days like everyone else. As an employer, you need to recognize their strengths, weaknesses and interests to better connect with them.
5. Keep the lines of communication open.
Remote employees, especially those who work nontraditional hours or are outside the headquarters’ time zone, sometimes feel that their team isn’t around when they are, and vice versa.
While it’s impossible to expect everyone to be available 24/7, knowing that they can reach out to their colleagues and stay in touch through digital communication helps virtual workers feel more connected.
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