Keeping remote employees engaged and happy is a virtually eternal struggle for many companies. Some employees struggle with being motivated and keeping up productivity, while others may feel undervalued or ignored.
This, however, becomes a much bigger issue when the employees work from home. Such employees can feel isolated and depressed, so it is important to support them. Here’s how to keep employees happy and engaged while working from home.
How to keep employees happy and engaged while working from home?
Follow these twelve tips to keep your remote employees engaged and happy.
1. Host casual virtual meetings
First and foremost, you will probably use virtual meetings for much of your communication. But instead of only hosting such meetings to discuss professional matters, you should also consider hosting casual virtual meetings.
Casual meetings will help you get to know your employees better while also providing opportunities for employees to bond with each other. And when you have a cohesive team that can work as a team, you will be able to tackle almost any project.
2. Establish personal connections
Speaking of bonding, you need to establish personal connections with your employees to keep them engaged and motivated. Establishing personal connections can help you understand your employees better and find unique approaches to leading individual employees separately and to them as the entire group.
In addition to that, establishing personal connections allows you to become an approachable and reliable leader whom employees can trust. Personal connections are much more meaningful and can even help you increase employees' loyalty, retain top talent and decrease turnover rates.
3. Show that they are valued
One of the biggest reasons employees feel unhappy is that they don’t feel valued. Showcasing each employee’s value is the key to making them more satisfied with their jobs and motivated to work.
To show your employees that they are valued, thank them regularly and bring attention to their achievements. You can also use perks and bonuses for more materialistic praise, but these will be discussed later in the article.
4. Encourage side projects
When thinking about your team and your company, it’s easy to forget that your employees can have other interests at work or in their personal life, apart from their core job.
For example, someone on your team may want to dedicate 20% of their time to learning automation by becoming part of a project so that they can gain hands-on knowledge. Another team member could be a certified communication coach and take up weekend sessions to help people communicate better.
You can leverage this and ask the employee if they would be interested in coaching your team. Encouraging these passions or interests can benefit you, your team, and the company.
5. Grow a welcoming company culture
Growing a welcoming company culture is important for any company, but especially for one with many work-from-home employees. Having a company culture represented in the office is one thing, but it is completely different from establishing this in a digital environment.
Company culture will be closely associated with your company’s communication practices, employee perks and bonuses, and so much more. In other words, it’s worth looking into the way you treat employees and how satisfied they are with the circumstances.
6. Set meaningful and realistic goals
Setting goals correctly can be one of the best ways to achieve success, which means you need to set both meaningful and realistic goals to motivate your employees. Meaningful goals are the ones your employees can connect to emotionally, while realistic goals will allow your employees to achieve them instead of failing.
To set such meaningful and realistic goals, think about what your employees care about and then think about what they are actually able to achieve. Assess your team’s past performance and set goals that can actually be achieved in the amount of time you plan for them.
7. Create opportunities for learning
One big mistake some companies make is treating their work-from-home employees less seriously than their regular, in-office employees. But this should never be the case if you want to have a successful team.
That’s why creating learning opportunities should be just as high on your priority list as it would be with regular employees. Learning is the best way for your employees to gain the necessary qualifications to perform their jobs properly. Moreover, learning new skills can help your employees open new doors and find new opportunities to grow the company.
8. Provide perks and bonuses
As mentioned earlier, providing perks and bonuses is one of the best ways to show that you appreciate and value your employees. Gift cards, discounts, extra vacation days, etc., can all be great as perks and bonuses.
An even more effective way to use such bonuses is personalizing them to every employee. Think about it as an extension of your individual approach to every employee in every other aspect of their work. If one employee prefers one store over another, it’s worth giving them a gift card to that store instead of just sticking to a single type of gift card for everyone.
9. Satisfy equipment needs
It may not seem like a priority but satisfying your employees’ equipment needs is one of the most important things to ensure high quality of work. If your team members don’t have the right equipment to work with, they won’t do anything the way they should.
Moreover, you should keep in mind that this refers to physical equipment and the software your employees need. For example, an employee may want to research the “write my research paper” keyword, but they won’t do this manually. They could even try some free keyword research tools, but in some cases, a paid tool for keyword research could be the only right option.
10. Take care of their health
An interesting aspect of working from home is that it can be difficult to differentiate between leisure time and work time. Some people could even be obsessed with working more to earn more (if their salaries depend directly on how much work they do).
This is exactly why it’s so important that you give your team enough breaks and encourage them to take care of their health. You could even organize daily team exercise sessions held via virtual meetings. Just make sure that everyone is in the right physical state to participate in the exercises you choose for this routine.
11. Gamify teamwork
As mentioned earlier, having a team that can actually work as a team is essential for the success of your projects. But you can also try taking an unconventional approach to the matter and gamify your teamwork.
Let your team have some fun when brainstorming ideas, and let them do it in a more game-based process, which could lead to them being more creative and coming up with more interesting ideas. Organize some in-office or virtual team-building activities to engage your employees.
12. Be sensitive to their issues
A huge problem for many companies is that executives cannot understand their employees and empathize with their problems and worries. But being sensitive to your employees’ issues is one of the best ways to build trust, respect, and loyalty.
Being sensitive to their issues is also a way for you to show them that you value them. If an employee has an emergency and wants to take a day off unexpectedly, let them have this day. If they feel tired mentally or physically, let them take a day off or have fewer tasks to do. If you don’t want to let this happen multiple times with the same person, be stricter when necessary.
13. Keep communication open
Last but not least, you should always keep your communication as open as possible. By showing that you are willing to communicate properly with your employees, they will also be more willing to communicate with you about anything that troubles them.
Set up multiple channels for communication, including a messenger, email, and other platforms. Let them know about your goals and expectations for the future and try to avoid keeping them in the dark about important matters. And, of course, remember to have an individual approach to each of your employees, even when it comes to internal communication.
To sum up, keeping your remote workforce happy and engaged can be a very challenging task, but once you figure out what to do, you can create an effective strategy to support your employees.
Use the tips from this article to get you started and figure out what exactly works for you. Remember that not every technique will be suitable for your company, but many tactics will work just fine. And the only way to figure this out is by testing them and applying them with your own team.